Thursday in the 19th Week of the Church Yearforegiveness

Saint for the day: St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe (1894-1941)

Scripture Readings for today's Liturgy:

Ezekiel 12:1-12

Psalm 78

Matthew 18:21-19:1

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”

 

These familiar words from the Lord’s Prayer, which we say over and over, can become dull if we’re not careful. Perhaps the words that holefollow are most important for us to hear: “and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” If you are anything like me our first scripture for today’s Liturgy seems a bit odd. But, given today’s Holy Gospel and the implied reference to the Lord’s Prayer it might have more meaning than we first imagine. You can’t have followed these daily reflections and not picked up my ever-present theme on “going out and on the way.”   evilWhen we say, “… deliver us from evil” in the Lord’s Prayer that means we have to get off our duffs and move out and away from that which keeps us trapped. I am constantly reminded of how much God has forgiven me and how much He puts up with in my wandering in and out of his love. If God can put up with the likes of me don’t I think that He just might be able to love and forgive … here you can put in any name or category of persons that you might think are outside of His love, mercy and forgiveness. This scripture reading from Ezekiel points out that it is not always easy to get us away from that which is not of God. We have to keep in mind that saying of St. Thomas Aquinas: “No one seeks evil because it is evil but, only because they confessionsee it as some kind of good.” We might have to dig around in the dirt that seems to bog us down in order to get through and away. Then we become exiles: strangers in a strange land. And a part of that “strangeness” is the fact that when we are “on the way” we are on the way to heaven and on the way to becoming citizens of the Kingdom. But, along the way we can’t forget today’s Holy Gospel, which gives us the conditions of our call: forgiveness! And not just once or seven times but “seventy-seven times!” We have to remember that any time we hold someone captive in their failings or mistakes we are also holding ourselves captives with that other person. “Let go and let God forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others.” Amen!

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Wednesday in the 19th Week of the Church Yeartemple

Saint for the day: St. Hippolytus (170-235)

Scripture Readings for today's Liturgy:

Ezekiel 9:1 … 22

Psalm 113

Matthew 18:15-20

 

 

Today is one of those days when it’s rather difficult to get a “handle” on the scriptures presented to us. Today’s first Scripture from the markedBook of the Prophet Ezekiel (the name means ‘May God strengthen him’) doesn’t give us a whole lot to grab on to. It reminds me of the Old Testament story of the Passover where the doorposts of the homes of the Israelites were marked with the blood of the lamb so that they would not be killed by the angel of the Lord. crossThe imagery of this scripture passage has many “baptismal symbols” to remind us of our own baptism: the man who comes in is dressed in linen and carries a writer’s case – perhaps containing the book where the names of those destined to be saved are written. He is told to “mark” those who seem to be upset at the abominations prevalent in the Temple. There is even a kind of “theophany” as the glory of the God of Israel was up above them. All of this might be taken as a reminder to us to live out our baptismal promises and seek to do right in the sight of God. The entire history of salvation is wrought with people who came in and out of God’s favor. Not only the Old Testament folks, but also all of us right down to the present. Today’s Holy Gospel is straight to the point: “do your best to confront someone doing wrong. If you need help, take one or two other believers along with you. In other words, God is telling us to bend over backwards to bring a wayward soul people altarback into the fold. But, there’s a word of caution given: “… if he doesn’t listen don’t get sucked into his evil ways but treat him as an outcast.” (Another of my own, loose translations of Matthew 18:17)

The bottom line for us today in found in the last verse of today’s Holy Gospel: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” In other words, if we are one with Christ, Christ is present and one with us. But remember: we’re not given this ability for our own gain -“Lord, let me win the Lottery!” Or something likes that - but, rather, in order to build up the people of God and bring back into fellowship those who, perhaps, have strayed or gotten caught up in worldly ways. “Anyone who brings back a sinner into the fold will not loose his reward.” (James 5:20) Amen!

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Tuesday in the Nineteenth week of the Church year.children 1

Saint for the day: St. Jane Frances de Chantal (1562-1641)

 

Scripture readings for today's Liturgy:

Ezekiel 2:8-3:4

Psalm 119

Matthew 18:1 …14

 

 “Amen I say to you, unless you turn and become like little children you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.” (Today’s Gospel)

What is it exactly that Jesus is asking of us with this Gospel? What are the qualities of a child that Jesus is looking for in us? There are childmany directions that we could go in regard to this statement of Jesus. In the first place, a child in the time of Jesus had absolutely no rights. In some regards, animals held a better position than did children. So what is Jesus trying to tell us? He’s certainly not saying, “Blessed are those who help themselves!” because He came to help those who have no one else to help them. In effect, Jesus is asking us to be so dependent upon God that we count on him to provide us with everything we need in life. In today’s first reading from the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel we are given a colorful picture of the Prophet being asked to eat the scroll of God’s Law. We have many common terms that come down to us in English based on this theory: “don’t bite off more than you can chew.” “That’s a bitter pill to swallow!” “You say that and you might have to swallow your own words.” If we takegod these notions of the power of words and see that our being made in the image and likeness of God might have something to do with our ability to speak: remember in the very beginning God “Said!” “Let there be … and so it was.” Our ability to speak is what makes us different from all the other creatures that God made and that gives us something of the notion of being made in the Image and Likeness of God. In today’s liturgy we are being asked to trust God to tasteprovide for us. Like Mary – who contemplated “the Word” to the point that it took flesh within her – we must seek that word daily and savor it as sweetness of our lives. We must let it weave together like a fine fabric that becomes the garment that clothes us. Like little babies we must let the word of God wrap us round like swaddling clothes – protected from all harm.  Don’t forget, we are not called to become self-made adults but to become people who can trust that God will provide for us. His words are sweet to our taste and prompt us to live for the Eucharist: “Taste and see how good is the Lord.” Many saints of old lived long lives sustained only on their daily reception of Holy Communion. Not all of us are called to such heroic ways of life but we are called to trust in the Lord to provide for our needs. Just for today, try to look at your own life and see whither or not you depend on God or are you so independent that you don’t even needing God anymore? “Unless you become like little children you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” Amen!

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Monday in the 19th Week of the Church Yearrainbow

 

Saint for the day: St. Clare (1194-1253)

Scripture Readings for today's Liturgy:

Ezekiel 1:2 … 28

Psalm 148

Matthew 17:22-27

                “Like the bow which appears in the clouds on a rainy day was the splendor that surrounded him.” (Ezekiel 12:28)

 

I think that I can say with confidence that the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel was probably a favorite of the author, Erich von Daniken, who gatewrote the book, “Chariots of the Gods.” It captured the attention of many who were caught up in a religious belief that we are controlled by aliens from outer space. I guess it’s a way that people without faith try to make sense of the spiritual dimension of religion. In the end of this reading we might find the connection that is needed.   We’re given the real image of the rainbow, which ordinarily comes after a storm and seems to connect the heavenly realm with our earthly existence. I think that this is a reminder to us that there is a kind of “bridge” between our world and the realm of heaven. But it’s a mystical bridge that our earthly bodies cannot access and this scripture reading from the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel tries its best to describe for us, who are on the earthly side of existence. Bottom line: we simply don’t have words to adequately describe heaven in all its glory. fetusThis all makes me think back to an image that I’ve used before: “life on earth is to life in Heaven; as life in the womb is to life in the world.” Think about that for a moment. If you could get into a womb in an attempt to tell the developing fetus, “Hang in there, baby! Pretty soon you’ll be free of this confined, water world. You’ll be able to move around on your own; go anywhere you want. Just be patient. It will come.”   If the baby could talk it would probably say, “Hey! Why would I want to leave here? I’m taken everywhere I need to go. I’m fed cemeteryand watered and pretty comfortable. What in the world are you talking about?”

We simply don’t have adequate words to describe Heaven. Everything we try ends up like this reading from Ezekiel using images that are alien to our ears. Look at Lazarus who was brought back from the dead: nothing is recorded about what he saw in those four days in the tomb probably because he realized that our earthly language simply cannot describe the Heavenly experience with any accuracy or understanding. In the meantime, like today’s Holy Gospel tells us, go and “pay the Temple tax” – another way of saying, “we’re not there yet” and, even if I could tell you what it’s like you wouldn’t be able to comprehend the glory and wonder of Heaven! Amen!

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Late Fr. Lewis Shea, OP (45 Mins) Video Documentary

The very Rev. Fr. Lewis Mary Shea, OP was a Dominican friar from the Chicago Central Province of St. Albert the Great,...

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Quote for today

stdominicI will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Psalm 32:8

Province of St. Joseph

The Dominican friars of the Province of St. Joseph were founded in 1806 by Edward Dominic Fenwick, O.P., an American who had joined the English Province of the Order as a young man during its exile in Belgium. Fenwick eventually returned to the United States with the dream of establishing the Order in his native land. Read More

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