a child growing up in a family of eleven, my Mom had certain tasks for each
day of the week - Monday and Thursday were wash days, Tuesday ironing and
baking day, Wednesday was cleaning day, and etc. This was very much
needed to have some kind of order in a household that size! However, once
we were older Mom shared that she regretted that she held so fiercely to
this regiment too many times. She recognized early on the missed opportunities
to just be with her children - to get to know them and them her.
Similar to this, as coordinator of liturgies, I find myself at times, so
focused on the many details of a liturgy that I miss the opportunities of
being present to the very people I am there to minister!
In the gospel we hear Jesus coming down hard on the Scholars of the law!
"Woe to you, scholars of the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge.
You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter."
Jesus wanted more from the scholars than their knowing about God - he wanted
them to "know" God - to experience God! and to share their experience
A biblical sense of the “knowledge of God” is an intimate relationship, a
total self-giving which is open to life. It is what stands behind Jesus’
invitation to know him. Sounds to me as though the scholars were using
only their heads - they had the means to know God but not the willingness
to open themselves to the opportunities of life - to a relationship with
Jesus! They were so focused on the “laws” (the externals) that
instead of the laws being the means to a relationship with God they became
obstacles. Not only for themselves but for others also.
The key to the knowledge of God is to be open to the grace of God in our
everyday lives - to experience and recognize God acting in our lives and
in others lives. To know God is to have our hearts open to God’s out
pouring grace found in the people, places and events of our everyday life!
This takes relating with others – forming relationships! When externals
become more important than people, we have definitely missed the opportunity
to deepen our “knowledge” of God… or missed becoming a mediator of God’s
This is what Jesus wanted from the scholars in the gospel. This is what Jesus wants from us.
So I ask myself – what are the “laws” or barriers that stop me from entering or deepening my relationship with others? With God?
Are they in the form of unrealistic expectations I hold for myself? For others?
Or is it my strong independence or stubbornness that gets in the way?
Or my need to prove myself? Or my claimed busyness?
And as I reflect I pray…. Ever Present God, open my heart to the graces of this day!