By Carol Younger
Today’s scripture selections are hard to read. It’s easy to ask ourselves as we read: Am I a judgmental person? Am I guilty of the same things I judge others for? Do I repent for sins and faults enough? God’s repayment warning according to my works does give me pause, and more than a little fear of the Lord! Yet, thank God for that closing line in the first reading: “…there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good….There is no partiality with God.” Do I do good? I want to, but, like Paul, the good I would do, I don’t do, and the sin I would not do, well…. you get the idea.
And the Gospel doesn’t let up on the warnings about judgment! As someone who catechizes, teaches, and leads groups through scripture and doctrine, I pay particular attention to that woe of Jesus: “Woe also to you scholars of the law! You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.” Do I really do that, I ask, looking over the past lesson plans, preparation notes, and piles of books I bring to any gathering.
Yet, I think we are in error to focus on the fear, woe, and judgment. The kernel of glory in these selected readings is in the center: the Psalm and the Alleluia. From the Jerusalem Bible comes this beautiful translation:
Rest in God alone, my soul!
He is the source of my hope;
with Him alone for my rock my safety,
my fortress, I can never fall;
rest in God, my safety, my glory,
the rock of my strength.
In God, I find shelter; rely on him,
people, at all times;
unburden your hearts to him,
God is a shelter for us.
Here is our reminder to unburden our fears and faults into His Love. This is what I must remember to include in all my interactions with others. Tell them to yearn for His mercy, to pour out our troubles and failings. He leads us onward, as the Alleluia announces: My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me. Ah! To be known and judged by our longing for Him and to ask for guidance along the path. And to have Him answer our hearts’ unburdening with healing and peace. So will we follow Him. Thanks be to God, He gives us rest from time to time during this sojourn toward Him, in the recesses of His Sacred Heart.
About the author:
Dr. Carol Younger – A Senior Fellow for the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, Advisory Board Member for the Great Adventure Bible Studies, author of Listening and Study Guides for biblical and theological presentations through St. Joseph Communications, author of the Retreat Companion for 33 Days to Morning Glory through Marian Press. An accomplished leader in public and private education and a popular adjunct professor at an evangelical Christian university in Southern California. Active in many parish ministries, including RCIA and Catechetical training.