The First Reading continues to give hope when we follow God. It says I am the Lord your God, who teaches you for your own good, who leads you in the way you should go. God continues to offer himself to teach us for our good and lead us where we should go. But what happens when we follow him? That you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your prosperity would have been like a river… their name would never be cut of or destroyed from before me. Contrary to what many say, obeying God does not hinder our enjoyment of life. Obedience in fact, leads to living a full life. Disobedience leads to destruction and death. The Gospel shows us how God calls us to obedience.
Jesus said John the Baptist came neither eating nor drinking. And he was accused of having a demon. Jesus comes eating and drinking, and he is accused of being a glutton, a drunkard a friend of tax collectors and sinners. God calls us in ways that suit us. The question is: will I respond to his call?
If after God has called us, we still reject him, then there is nothing much he can do because he respects our free will. God will not save us without our permission. This is the importance of free will because with it, we choose what we are to do. The Psalm gives us a choice: Do I follow the advice of the wicked or do I delight in the law of the Lord? If we go with the wicked, we may prosper, but only momentarily. But if we go with the Lord, we will bear fruit. We are like trees planted by streams of water, bearing fruit even in season.
St Damasus was the Pope who defined the canon of Scripture during the Council of Rome in 382AD. Pope Damasus also had Jerome consolidate the various Latin translations of the Bible into a more accurate version which became the Latin Vulgate. The Vulgate was translated from the Greek versions of the New Testament and the Old Testament which was called the Septuagint. Damasus was not without controversy because he was accused of murder and adultery but the accuracy of these accusations are doubtful. In any case, Damasus defended the Catholic Church from schism by the Apollinarians and Macedonians. These erroneous opinions on the divinity and humanity of Jesus.
St Damasus took on the responsibilities of Pope and left a legacy that lasted throughout the ages: the canon of Scripture. This is what we are also called to be: obedient to God’s call. We do not need to do anything extraordinary but we just respond to the call and do what the Lord wants.
Lord, let me hear your call. I allow you to show me where you want me to go. And when you call, let me respond to you, even if I do not understand why you want me to do something. But always Lord, let my perspective be wise, accepting you as you are and doing what you ask. St Damasus, teach me to love Scripture, the written Word of God. Teach me to delight in the law of the Lord, so I may bear fruit to give glory to God.