Daily Reflection
January 23rd, 2008

Chas Kestermeier, S.J.

English Department
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This is very early in Mark's Gospel, and already the Pharisees are out to get Jesus. They are not listening to Jesus in order to hear what He has to say but simply in order to get around Him somehow: they already "know" the truth, and they have no room for growth, will not allow God any room for a further or deeper or just a better revelation of Himself. They just won't listen!

Like the Pharisees, we go to pay attention to this Jesus, this person whom so many people are agog about, but are we looking for God Himself or only for the god that we want to see? Do we believe that we already know everything about Him that it is necessary or valuable for us to know? If so, we might ask if we would settle for that in a merely human relationship: if there is no constant growth and mutual understanding, the relationship is so stagnant that it is dead . . .

The question really is who the God is whom I am actually worshiping. Am I a better person because of my relationship to God? Can people see that God makes a difference in who I am?

I know any number of intelligent people, and I respect their intelligence, but it is not their intelligence that makes them good people or people whom I wish to emulate. God is "reasonable," can be approached by our intelligence, but that does not mean that I can truly grasp Him with my little mind, even at the best of times, except in the smallest of ways. If I expect Him to be explicable, then He is not god enough for me. If I can comprehend His reasons or His timing or His ways, He is not a god I can worship or trust: such a god is too small for me.

But a God who is good, a God who comforts and forgives, who is (like Jesus here) a healer, one who brings to life, that God is someone to whom I can give my heart and my life --- as long as He is also patient with my weakness and sin, my fumbling search for spiritual growth and maturity. This is a God who seems to grow, while actually it is I who am growing and, because of that, our relationship is improving. This God constantly refreshes me in every way.

But for that to happen I need to meet God constantly in prayer, to listen to Him, and to let Him progressively reveal to me who He actually is. That demands humility on my part, trust, and a truly open spirit, but above all it means that I must go to prayer on a regular and very personal basis to meet Him and listen to Him.

And when the Lord will then work wonders right in front of me I will recognize His hand and welcome this new revelation of His love, this invitation, this new step in our relationship. I will, I hope, respond better than the Pharisees do in today's reading.

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