To be read: January 4, May 4, September 4
Seeking His workman in the multitude of the people, the Lord proclaims these words, saying again: 15“Who is the man that desires life and covets many days”(Ps 33:13)? 16If hearing this you answer, “I am he,” then God says to you: 17“If you will have true and everlasting life, keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit; turn away from evil and do good; seek after peace and pursue it”(Ps 33:14-15). 18And when you have done these things, My “eyes shall be upon you, and My ears unto your prayers. And before you shall call upon me I will say: ‘Behold, I am here’”(Is 58:9). 19What, dear brothers, can be sweeter to us than this voice of the Lord inviting us? 20See, in His loving kindness, the Lord shows us the way of life. 21Therefore, clothed with faith and the performance of good works, let us walk in His Way under the guidance of the Gospel, that we may be found worthy of seeing Him who has called us into His kingdom (cf 1 Thess 2:12).
The Lord seeks His workers. We are called to the Kingdom, and that call is to take our part in the work of the Kingdom. Too often I meet people who come seeking the Kingdom only for what it will provide for them. “What do I get out of accepting Christ?” “What benefit is there for me if I join the Church?” And sadly, many preachers cater to them and proclaim Jesus as Savior at the expense of the new converts accepting Him as Lord. Benedict is pointing out in these verses that the Lord calls out to us, not only for what we receive in acceptance of the call, but for what we have to contribute to the Body.
As our holy father, Benedict, says in verse 14, our Lord “proclaims these words…again…” And He is desirous and hopeful that we will respond with an “I do.” “If hearing this you answer, ‘I am he’…,” then God will speak to you. When we say “yes”, God will answer! When we say “yes” to our Lord we declare that we want Him to direct and rule our lives. We want to practice the virtues of a life yielded to Christ’s will. Benedict asks, “What can be sweeter to us than this voice of the Lord inviting us?” It is a beckoning to a love relationship. Benedict goes on to say, “See, in His loving kindness, the Lord shows us the way of life.” It is not enough for us to have desire for this life, we must “choose life.” And having made the choice, and fully committed ourselves to this path, we are then, “clothed with faith and the performance of good works…”. This is not a one-time event, but a process of daily transformation.
And in the conclusion of this section we are given these encouraging words: “that we may be found worthy of seeing Him who has called us into His kingdom.” This rings with the sound of works righteousness. Again the language of his day may be a stumbling block for us, but the context of the whole Rule beckons us to recognize that everything we have is received as gift from Christ and the Father, by means of the Holy Spirit. “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” (Luke 12:32 emphasis added).