The 10th Sunday of Trinity
Countries like Norway, France, Holland, Belgium and Britain, and many others who fought together against the evil teachings of Adolf Hitler constantly relied on listening to the secret radio broadcasts which the Allies, made to each other. Owning a wireless (as these were then called), was punishable by death. But the Resistance Movements still managed to meet in small groups and share their news and ideas with each other, boosting one another’s morale and receiving their orders. C.S. Lewis compared our weekly meeting together to “Learning to Tune-in to God’s Secret Radio”, in order to learn how to worship Him, through Word and Sacrament; to talk with and listen to Him in prayers; asking Him to supply our needs (and those of others); and last, (but not least), to listen carefully to Him as He gives us Orders for the coming week.
I want to suggest something that from today we should begin to listen much more carefully to the Sunday Mass readings, each ending with the phrase “The Word of the Lord”.
Many churchgoers “switch-off” during those readings. But if these really are the Word of the Lord they are certain to contain a message which God means each one of us to hear, and act upon. When people complain (as many do), that God never speaks to them it may be because they are not properly tuned-in to hear Him; or if they have ‘switched-off’ during those Readings it’s impossible for God to communicate with them. More crucial today than ever, that God’s people listen. But if we have switched off our radios during the Readings, or never learnt how to tune in properly to God’s wave length it will mean that His Weekly Message to each of us will be inaudible!
But “Paying attention” to the Mass Readings has revealed to me a wealth of ideas which I might never have had. So let me end by giving you an example of what today’s Gospel revealed to me about this week’s message from God. So these are my reflections:
The Synagogue Ruler scolded Jesus for healing someone on the Sabbath. “There are six days when men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them”. (Luke 13;14] Jesus immediately responded by pointing out his hypocrisy, it was precisely what the Ruler would do if this had been one of his own possessions. Jesus answered the Ruler of the Synagogue in the latter’s own terms. Jesus often quoted Scripture in His teaching, which the Ruler would know well.
But his response in this instance was to read it with compassion,”ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?”[Luke 13;15]
Sadly the Hebrew Scriptures the Synagogue Minister knew was but a minuscule part of the full message that God the Son came to Earth to reveal. To those Jews, to whom Jesus first revealed the New Testament, it really was something totally new because Jesus Himself was the Living Word of God, as St John says in his prologue. He didn’t just preach a New Gospel; He lived it, and more important still, He was it. Yes, he used spoken words, and ideas and images from the Old Testament to teach his hearers, but people like the Synagogue Ruler reckoned that they already knew the whole extent of God’s Revelation of Himself to His Chosen People. But in fact what they knew was only the first part of the truth as God had revealed it to them, like the first ten pages of a book of infinitely many Chapters. Jesus did not come to destroy what they had learnt but, in His own words, to Fulfil it.
But more of that in the next “Secret Broadcast of God’s Word”!
Fr. Francis Gardom