Sliding into Infidelity
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted”
Today’s readings: Wis 2:1-22; Ps 34:17-23; Jn 7:1-30
Wisdom 2:1-20 is about the wicked who deny life after death and so think they can do any evil without consequences, and thus they pursue pleasure independent of moral restraints. The passage also speaks prophetically about the passion of Christ.
This is the opposite of covenant. With covenant, we are called to live a righteous life, in obedience to God, and look to the ultimate fulfillment of our relationship with God—to live forever with Him in heaven.
The two are as different as black and white. But oftentimes we are somewhere in the middle. We disobey God to a certain extent, we are unfaithful to our covenant to a certain degree, we live a life in the world that seems to be unconcerned about the reckoning of eternity. We think the world will fulfill us and thus seek enjoyment from worldly pleasures, even to the point of acting unjustly towards others. We might even put down, despise and persecute the person who lives for God, since by his words and actions we are reproached and exposed with our impurity.
There is a constant danger that we will slide into greater infidelity. This can happen as we take on the ways of the world, as we do not move ahead on the path of holiness, as we miss the essence of covenant, as we fix our gaze away from Jesus and away from our eternal destiny. “These were their thoughts, but they erred; for their wickedness blinded them, and they knew not the hidden counsels of God; neither did they count on a recompense of holiness nor discern the innocent souls’ reward” (Wis 2:21-22).
There is a danger that we would treat our brethren unjustly. We might miss out on seeing each person as a child of God, made in His image and likeness and endowed with dignity. “Stop judging by appearances, but judge justly.” (Jn 7:24). Justice is giving to the other person what is his due. We must never put anyone down or discriminate against anyone due to sex, age, race or social status.
Because God does not want us to slide into further infidelity, and eventually lose our way entirely, He brings us to Lamentations, in order to turn us around, in order to remind us of our covenant, in order to prepare us for the greater work ahead.
The other side of all this is when we are on the receiving end of the oppressive acts of others. This is when we are put down, slandered, persecuted, and treated unjustly. The oppressors may gloat and enjoy what they are doing, we may be desperate and feeling helpless and hopeless, but we must always be aware of the truth of God’s presence and action in our lives. We must know what kind of God it is who we are in covenant with.
“The Lord’s face is against evildoers to wipe out their memory from the earth. When the just cry out, the Lord hears and rescues them from all distress. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, saves those whose spirit is crushed. Many are the troubles of the just, but the Lord delivers from them all. God watches over all their bones; not a one shall be broken. Evil will slay the wicked; those who hate the just are condemned. The Lord redeems loyal servants; no one is condemned whose refuge is God.” (Ps 34:17-23).
What consolation and encouragement the above passage about our God is. If we are in covenant with God, He hears and rescues us from all distress when we cry out. He mends our broken hearts and revives our crushed spirits. He watches over us and redeems us. He is our refuge.
Reflection/action: On a continuum where on the left is black and a life of worldly sin and on the right is white and a life faithful to our covenant with God, consider where you stand.
Prayer: Lord, I struggle with worldly thoughts and desires, and I am constantly tempted not to live out your high call according to our covenant. As such I become unfaithful at times. At other times I struggle to do what is right but am misunderstood by others, and they speak against and persecute me. Lord, I can only look to you. I cry out to you, Lord. Rescue me from all distress, of my own making or that due to others. Watch over me and deliver me, Lord. You are my refuge and my strength. Amen.
God bless you all.
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:21)