Thursday in the 14th Week of the Church Year.
Saint for the day: St. Veronica Giuliani (1660-1727)
Hosea 11: 1 … 9
“I drew them with … bands of love; … like one who raises an infant to his cheeks; (Hosea 11:4)
“Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved. (Today’s Responsorial Verse)
“Jesus says, … ‘As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” (Matthew 10:7)
The above three quotes from the Scriptures for today’s Liturgy seem to hold the key to our understanding of how God calls us and what we need to do in following Him steadfastly. In the scripture readings from the Book of the Prophet Hosea we can’t help but see that God is always calling us back to His loving presence but not in anger or vindictiveness. The image from this Hosea Scripture is very important for us to understand: God draws us back “with human cords of love; …as one who raises an infant to his cheeks;” I know that I’ve used this image in previous reflections but I’ll repeat it since it is so important to our understanding of how God draws us back into His Love.
When I was in grammar school we used to go across the street from the school to a park for our recess. The boys would play various sports games while the girls sat around in little circles making necklaces out of the small, white daisies that grew in abundance on the grass. They would carefully make a little slit in the stem of the daisy and carefully poke the stem of another daisy through that slit. The continued doing this – always being very careful to work very gently - until they had a necklace that they could wear around their necks. Every time I read this section of Hosea I can’t help but think that this is how God calls us back into His loving presence. No “fire and brimstone” here but only gentleness. The second part of that Hosea quote is also important: “I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his cheeks;” (Hosea 11:4) It’s when we let God draw us to Himself that the words from today’s Response verse: “Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved” are possible. It’s when we allow God to draw us close that we are saved. But we’re not saved just to gloat over it. The opening words of today’s Holy Gospel put it square into context: “As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” (Matthew 10:7) The Lord calls us back to Himself in order to give us the ability to know His love firsthand and to be able to share that with others. The image of the daisy chain of love is important for us to remember as we go out. We’re never given a mandate to go forth with drawn swords and shouts of retribution but only to draw others by means of the gentle love that we have received from our own relationship with God/Jesus. The Gospel goes on and tells us what we are to do: “cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons.” (Matthew 10:8) Use whatever images come to you to help you see that you are being drawn close to the Lord. It’s only when you can know that God draws you close that you’ll be able to draw others. St. Thomas Aquinas says, “You cannot give what you do not have.” So the response verse holds the key: “Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved” with the implication that we’ll be able to pass that on to others. Amen?
Wednesday in the 14th Week of the Church Year.
Saint for the day: St. Nicholas Pick & Companions (d.1572)
Hosea 10:1 … 12
Having a heart with pure intentions gives us the authority to take the “word of God to His people. The people of God in the OT times struggled to find & stay on the path of God’s love for them. They got caught up in all kinds of distractions and often chose to follow false God’s. Even in our own time we can fall into traps of “false-isms” that can seem to give us a new understanding of how to follow Jesus /God. We always want to know the truth and to have an edge into God’s being. I recently heard that there was a discovery of a manuscript – pre-dating the Christian era speaking of a messianic figure who suffered, died and rose after 3 days. In the end we have to ask, “What would that data do to our understanding of Jesus?” Is anybody going to be able to find the empirical proof about God & Jesus? Just the thought of how God could “brake Jesus into our world” in a particular time and place is enough to boggle the mind. We can spin our wheels for our entire lifetime chasing after this Medjogoria or that Shroud; a faith healer or … when all God asks of us is to have an honest heart. Do I cease believing in Jesus just because someone finds a document or fact from here or there? Does my faith rest on facts or trust? Belief in the Holy Spirit or belief in ….? Here you can just fill in the blanks! Amen.
* * * * * * * * * *
Monday in the 14th Week of the Church Year.
Saint for the day: Blessed Ralph Milner (died 1591)
Scripture Readings for today\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s Liturgy:
Hosea 2:16 … 22
“I will espouse you to me forever; I will espouse you in right and in justice, in love and in mercy; I will espouse you in fidelity, and you shall know the Lord.” (Hosea 2:21-22)
⦁ The reading from Hosea gives us the image of God’s espousal to His people and his patience in not giving up on His Chosen People (that’s you and me, too) and how he will use any means possible to draw us back.
⦁ We also get the familiar story of the women with the hemorrhage who wants to hold on to her privacy and secretly reaches out to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment for healing. In this same Gospel we also have the “official” who very publicly approaches Jesus asking that Jesus come to heal his daughter. So, with these three very different situations of how God deals with us we shouldn’t be able to fall through the cracks thinking that there’s no hope for us.
⦁ The initial relationship that God desires for us is given to us in the sense of “espousal.” God wants to be intimate with us. No room for standing in the shadows. We need to step forward for the embrace – even if it’s more like this women who can only touch the hem of His garment.
⦁ The [synagogue] official also faces ridicule by approaching Jesus but his faith allows him to overlook what his peers might be thinking. This is another reminder to us that our faith must be “out there” is some way, even if it might cause us embarrassment.
Bottom line: think about our own manner of approaching Jesus, especially in the Eucharist: do we see this kind of intimate, espousal relationship when we say, “Amen?” After this, then, whether we humbly reach out to touch just the hem of His garment or boldly step forward, we need to say, “Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief.” Amem!
* * * * * * * * * *
I’d like to hear from you to know that you’re getting these reflections. Click on the following “link” to e-mail me:
14th Sunday of the Church Year
Saint for the day:
Romans 8:9, 11-13
\\\"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.\\\"
The first thought that comes to me this morning, as I read through these appointed scriptures, is that most of us don’t know how to rest. Somewhere along the line we got the notion that WE have to work at getting to that point of rest. Yet in today’s first scripture from the book of the prophet Zechariah we hear the words, \\\"Shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem! See, your king shall come to you! (Zachariah 9:10) I love the story of the Israelites wandering in the desert until they come upon the great barrier of the sea. Their first reaction is to cry out to Moses, \\\"Now look what you’ve done! You’ve brought us to this deserted place to die!\\\" (Exodus 14:11) Moses’ response is key to all of our struggles: \\\"You only have to calm; stand firm and you will see what the Lord will do to save you.\\\" (Exodus 14:13-14) Being in the presence of God is not so much about the process of getting somewhere as it is about standing firm and confident that the Lord – the savor of the world – will come to meet us. If all of our energy goes into trying to get into the presence of God there won’t be any room for God to squeeze into what tiny space we’ve left for Him in our hearts. Our second scripture reading for today’s Liturgy reminds us, once again, \\\"You are not in the flesh … you are in the spirit where God dwells in you.\\\" (Romans 8:9) When today’s Holy Gospel tell us that this mystery has \\\"… been hidden from the wise and the learned and revealed to little ones\\\" We have to understand this to mean that it’s not so much an action that begins with us and our cleverness but more a matter of our just being in the presence of God and allowing Him to gradually reveal Himself to us. Most of us think that we’ll eventually get to the \\\"pearly gates\\\" where God is going to ask us what we accomplished in our lives. I think we’re going to be surprised when all he asks us is, \\\"Did you love one another as I have loved you?\\\" He’s not going to ask us how many great churches we’ve built or how many books about his love that we’ve written but, only, \\\"Did you love one another as I have loved you?\\\" This is where we have to put our focus. And we do this by allowing the Lord to be yoked to us so He can give us rest: \\\"For my yoke is easy and my burden light!\\\" (Matthew 11:30) Amen!
The very Rev. Fr. Lewis Mary Shea, OP was a Dominican friar from the Chicago Central Province of St. Albert the Great,...
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Psalm 32:8