Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Today’s readings begin with a prayer of Solomon, who successfully built the temple. We heard from the scripture in the previous days that Solomon has been granted wisdom by God to distinguish good and evil. Nevertheless, during his forty year reign, there is no single prophet that arose as someone who could reawaken his sensibilities. There was no character like the Prophet Nathan who rebuked Solomon’s father David, when he committed terrible sins. Since no one rebukes him, Solomon’s sins deaden his sensibilities and his reign ended disastrously. He oppressed the people, possessed multiplied wives, and introduced pagan worship.
In the Gospel reading, Jesus frankly rebukes the Pharisees in the Gospel story. His words may sound harsh to our ears. Sometimes, we need to hear harsh words from Jesus because our sensibilities can be reset. As we approach the Lenten season, let us pause for a moment and reflect on the area of our lives that we need to be reset. Let us open our ears and listen to Jesus. Let us thank Jesus when He speaks to us with words of peace or praise. Also be prepared to hear His strong words that push us to grow.
Grace: An intimate knowledge of the many blessings received, that filled with gratitude for all, I may in all things love and serve the Divine Majesty.
Reflection: In the meditation upon sin, we made reference to Dante’s vision of hell, a cold, desolate place where the fire of love has been extinguished and all lies in a spiritual torpor. This is the perfect image of the heart grown cold to the stirrings of love which God places within it. At the opposite end of Dante’s journey lies a vision that perfectly encapsulates the final meditation of the Spiritual Exercises, the Contemplation to Attain Divine Love. From the lowest reaches of the spiritual universe, Dante ascends to the heights of heaven, where he views “the love that moves the sun and the other stars.” At the heart of the universe lives the Trinitarian God, whose perfect love draws all being into an ordered symphony of praise. Dante feels himself drawn into this harmonic vision through the enflaming of his passions and desires. No one with eyes to see can sit impassively at the vision of God’s love. From the disordered state in which Dante had fallen at the beginning of the poem, he becomes progressively cleansed of his disordered affections through the grace of God and the intercession of Beatrice until finally he is able to pass through the heavens and stand in the presence of God. But notice that Dante only sees God’s depths after he has been interiorly transformed.