Tuesday in the 14th Week of the Church Year

Saint for the day:  St. Gregory Grassi & Companions (d. 1900)

Scripture Readings for today's Liturgy:
Hosea 8:4 … 13
Psalm 115
Matthew 932-38

Jesus says: “I am the Good Shepherd.  I know mine and mine know me.” (Ps 23)

The image of God as “Good Shepherd” is one of those familiar titles that can
easily be passed over. We silently say to ourselves, “Yes, I know that…” and
move on without thinking it through.  If you take the time, you can see
Jesus as “Good Shepherd” in and through most of the Scriptures.
Today’s healing of  the dumb demoniac is a case in point.  Even though Jesus
didn’t go out searching for him he is brought to Jesus to be healed.  This
tells us something about what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
Obviously, the people knew that Jesus had the power to heal and they didn’t
just wait around for him to search out those in need.  This reminds all of
us of our duty to have concern for those most in need of healing.  There is
no room for a Christian to think, “Oh, that’s for somebody else to deal
with.” We are reminded of the words directed to Jesus, “When did we see you
hungry and not feed you …” are words that should be the foundation of what
our Christian life is all about.
By virtue of our baptism we are all endowed with the power to heal and build
up the Kingdom of God.  GK Chesterton’s words come to mind:  “It’s not that
Christianity has been tried and found wanting.  It’s more that it hasn’t
really been tried.”
St. Therese, the little flower, is quoted as saying, “See a pin and pick it
up and a soul is saved from the power of Hell.”  I’ve translated that on my
own and say, “If you toss a wad of paper into the waste basket – and miss –
and don’t go over to pick it up you’ll never be a saint!”
Most of us are “grandstand Christians” – or spectators always thinking,
“That’s for somebody else to deal with.”  Yet, we can see that even if we
only bring someone in need to Christ we’ve done the first step in really
carrying out our Baptismal responsibility.  The parable of “the talents” has
a good lesson for all of us.  It’s not that the person who was just given
the one talent is punished for not doubling it.  It’s that he didn’t even do
the most passive act of at least putting in the bank to gain interest.  He
buried it in the ground and brought it back just as he had received it!  For
this he was cast into the darkness as a wicked and lazy person. We all have
to think of the times we have done at least some good for someone so that we
hear the words, “Well done.  Good and faithful servant. Enter into the
Kingdom.”

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
Psalm 145
Matthew 9:18-26

“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!

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14th Sunday of the Church Year

 

Saint for the day: 

St. Maria Goretti (1890-1902)

Scripture Readings for today\\\'s Liturgy:

Zechariah 9:9-10

Psalm 145

Romans 8:9, 11-13

Matthew 11:25-30

\\\"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.\\\"

(Matthew 11:25)

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!



Saturday in the 13th Week of the Church Year

Saint for the day:  St. Anthony Zaccaria (1502-1539)

Scripture Readings for today\\\'s Liturgy:
Amos 9:11-15
Psalm 85
Matthew 9:14-17

“I will hear what God proclaims; the Lord – for he proclaims peace to his people.”  (Psalm 85:9)

This first verse from today’s Responsorial Psalm is encouraging for us, especially after all our previous readings from the Book of the Prophet Amos.  It’s like – “Ok!  We know that we didn’t always live up to your expectations, Lord,  and we didn’t always follow you as we should … but have a heart!”  The words from the rest of this psalm should give us enough encouragement to return to the Lord our God.  As I say so often, we can get all the encouragement we need if we just read through these psalms slowly and see them speaking directly to us.   So, go ahead.  Put your own name in the text:  “Daniel will hear what God proclaims; Justice shall walk before Daniel, and salvation, along the way of his steps.”  If we don’t hear the word of God speaking – in some way – directly to us … what’s the point of reading it?  We often speak of ”Jesus, the WORD made flesh” and we need to make that statement real – e.g. in fleshed – in our own lives.

In today’s Holy Gospel Jesus, once again brings it into the “present, perfect tense” by saying, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?” We have to remember that Jesus, himself, said, “I am with you always…” (Matthew 28:20)  Even in so many of those Old Testament stories it’s the “Chosen People of God” who are the ones who walk away from God.  Not always the other way around.  When Jesus  uses the image of the wineskins we are being led to understand that our reception of Jesus begins on the natural level: crushed grapes are nothing to write home about until they go through a kind of death/resurrection process of becoming new wine.  We can’t get away from understanding that our encounter with Jesus is going to require some grace-filled change or transformation.  A death to things as we know them in order for us to rise up new and changed persons.  The ending verses of today’s Responsorial Psalm hold the promise: “The Lord himself will give his benefits; our land shall yield its increase. Justice shall walk before him, and salvation, along the way of his steps.” (Psalm 85:13)  Don’t forget to put your own name in where it’s appropriate in order to get the fullness of this promise.  Amen!



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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

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