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“We were once foolish, disobedient and misled. / We then lived in malice and envy. Hateful ourselves, we hated one another. / –Because of his mercy, God has saved us through the baptism of rebirth and the renewal of the Holy Spirit. ”
2nd Responsory, Sunday, Fifthteenth Week in Ordinary Time
The parallels of last week’s scripture readings of David reversed in Jesus are this week extended to the Christian life as fulfillment of the images in the Hebrew sacred text. In a word, perhaps, faithjustice.1 The first reading (I Kings) presents the image and the second reading (Ambrose) a commentary on the Christian experience.
Sunday’s assurance uttered by Elijah to the widow about the flour and oil going empty or running dry remind the Christian of bread of eternal life which Ambrose seeks to instruct us “setting forth the meaning of the sacraments.”
Monday Elijah’s holocaust’s trice drenching resulting in fire is so clearly correlative to baptism necessarily completed in confirmation that Ambrose’s conclusion almost seems redundant: “The water… in it all wickedness is burned.. the Holy Spirit descended… who breaths into to you peace…”
Tuesday the “tiny whispering voice” –God’s presence in the unexpected (“but the Lord was not”), turns into Ambrose directive: “What is not seen is here more truly seen, for what is seen belongs to time but what is not seen belongs to eternity.”
Wednesday the corrective and restorative destruction announced by Elijah is for Ambrose (“…the water, the blood and the Spirit… conferred”) put in the question concerning baptism, “What is water without the cross of Christ?”
Thursday spilt blood licked up by dogs at the place where harlots bathed (as prophesied), becomes oil poured out as scarlet sins are purified white –an innocence breathed from the fragrance of resurrection by baptism!
Friday effortless –except for resounding thanksgiving praise– victory is eucharist –what happened in symbol now fulfilled in reality.
Saturday the mantle of Elijah is doubled and rests on Elisha (“I will not leave you”) upon his seeing the Prophet “as they walked on conversing… and Elijah went up to heaven…” Ambrose instructs “the very words of the Lord are effective… indeed the true flesh of Christ… and you say, ‘Amen,’ that is: ‘It is true.’ In this conversation between disciple and teacher, “What the mouth utters, let the mind within acknowledge; what the word says, let the heart ratify.” He concludes, “it is this food that gives strength to out hearts, this drink which gives joy to the heart of man, as the prophet has written.”
How do baptism, confirmation and eucharist joyfully fill life around you
–do others experience refreshing, passionate, real presence in your encounter?
FACTOID Faithjustice: a passionate virtue which disposes citizens to become involved in the greater and lesser societies around themselves in order to create communities where human dignity is protected and enhanced, the gifts of creation are shared for the greatest good of all, and the poor are care for with respect and a special love. 1
1 Fred Kammer, S.J., Salted with Fire, Spirituality for the Faithjustice Journey, p. 2; (New York, Paulist Press, 1995)
The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission by Surgeworks, Inc for the Divine Office Catholic Ministry. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2011 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved. (226)
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