Amos 8:4-6, 9-12
Psalm 119:2, 10, 20, 30, 40, 131
In the first reading we hear about people who are consumed with desire. Even during the day of rest, all they can think of is the object of their desire. “When will this feast or Sabbath be over”, they wonder, “so that we can get back to business.” And what business? Their desire for profit is so great that they cheat and steal and lie.
Oh that we would have a desire for God like their desire! The children of this world are always wiser in their ways than the children of the kingdom. If only I could be as motivated to serve God as some people are to make a million dollars. There are people who will sacrifice every good thing for money and fame. How is it then that I find it so difficult to give up mediocre things in order to follow God?
Perhaps this is what Jesus means when he says that he wishes we were hot or cold rather than lukewarm. If we were cold, like these merchants who have a great desire to get back to cheating and stealing, who can barely contain themselves through one day off, then we could turn this desire to something good. Which is easier, to work up a desire that we do not have or to redirect a strong desire in the wrong direction?
There are many examples of saints who redirected misguided desires. St. Ignatius was a soldier who loved glory in battle, and he became a soldier of Christ. St. Matthew, as we read in the Gospel today, went from collecting taxes, being so in love with money that he collaborated with the Roman government, to being in love with Jesus Christ.
I do not know if it is easier to redirect a desire or create a desire. The point is to have a strong desire. If your desire is weak, the thing is to strengthen it. If you have a strong desire for something inferior to God, consider how you can turn it to him. I think we have need of a little of both. I need to desire God more, and I need to turn my desires to him. I do not have the strong desire for God that the saints had, but I can take comfort in my desire to have a desire for God. So long as I do not let go of this desire for a desire, there is a chance for me.