Friday in the 15th Week of the Church Yearmercy

Saint for the day: St. Frederick (d. 838)

Scripture Readings for today's Liturgy:

Isaiah 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8

Response Psalm Isaiah 38

Matthew 12:1-8

Signs and wonders I seek not … rather “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” (Matthew 12:7)

 

The first part of the quote, above is my own saying but the last part is from today’s Holy Gospel. I think I put the first part in after reading today’s scripture from Isaiah. There are many people who would read this passage and put all their energy into signs and wonders to prove that God listens to their prayers. I remember a time – way back in the early days of the Charismatic movement - when I was walking across the ASU Campus with a young student. As we approached one of many fountains at the crossroads in the center of the campus the wind was blowing a water spray across our path. The guy I was with said, “I believe that the power of the Holy Spirit will allow me to cause that water spray to go the other way so that we can walk across without getting wet.”   His statement caused me to get angry since I didn’t see what that would prove. I told the student, “There are people dying of hunger and disease all over the world and you’re asking God to do a magic trick so you can seem to have power over nature?” There are people who have expended all of their energy trying to calculate the reality of the sun going back on the steps to the Temple as stated in today’s scripture from Isaiah. What would that accomplish in so far as it impacts on our faith? Am I only going to believe in God based on sign and wonders? The ending of today’s Holy Gospel seems to be key to our understanding of how God works: “… there is something greater than the temple here … I desire mercy, not sacrifice…”(Matthew 12:7) Are we able to seek God even when things aren’t going the way we want? Does our faith in God only become firm when we see signs and wonders? When I find myself thinking along these lines I flash back to Lazarus who was raised from the dead after being in the tomb for four days. Even as great a miracle as that was … it didn’t seem to have lasted ‘cause Lazarus must have died again since he’s not around as far as I can see.

So, we come back to square one based on the Greatest Commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart; and your neighbor as yourself.”(Matthew 22:37ff) Remember: when we get to those pearly gates God isn’t going to ask us how many wonders or spectacular things we did in our lives. But, rather, did we love and try to take care of the people that we encountered along the way. It’s that simple and key to our following Jesus. Amen!

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Thursday in the 15th Week of the Church Yearrest5

Saint for the day: Servant of God Francis

Garces & Companions (c. 1781)

Scripture Readings for today's Liturgy:

Isaaiah 26:7 … 19

Psalm 102

Matthew 11:28-30

 

                         “Come unto me and I will give you rest?”(Matthew 11:28)

Yesterday I said that when we come before our God in prayer sometimes we just have to shut up and listen to what God is saying to us. How else will we hear Him say that quote from today’s Holy Gospel, which I printed above? I started with this quote in order to soften some of the harsh words in the second paragraph of the scripture from Isaiah. Fortunately, the Responsorial Psalm gives us a little more hope, “The Lord looked down from his holy height, …to release those doomed to die.” (Psalm 102:21) The secret to all of this begins with our willingness to come before the Lord with an honest and sincere heart. Even though we know our faults and failings we don’t hide them from God (as if we could!) but come “just as I am, without one plea, but that thy Blood was shed for me!” (Based on: John 6:37) The trouble with most of us is that we think we have to get our spiritual and moral lives all in order before we can come into God’s presence. The reality, though, is that God is waiting for us to say that verse from the old Gospel hymn: “Just as I am …” We have to remember that it’s God’s Love that makes us perfect and somehow, we got it backwards thinking that we have to get our lives together and then come to God. So whenever we come before God come with some kind of words that say, “We’ve tried to be perfect but we really need your help in order to get into that healing, forgiving presence that You, God, promise us.” If you wait until you think you have your life in perfect order you’ll miss out in all the blessings that God wants to pour into your life today; right now! In order for you to gain all the graces you need for today’s journey! Amen!

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Wednesday in the 15th Week of the Church Yearspeak

Saint of the day: Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (12th – 13th Century)

Scriptures readings for today's liturgy:

Isaiah 10:5-7, 13-16

Psalm 94

Matthew 11:25-27

“Unless you become like little children you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”(Matt. 18:3)

 

 

To all my faithful readers of these Scratchpad Reflections I can tell you that I am now safe and secure, back home from my travels and ready to, once again get back to my normal routine of getting these reflections posted in proper order. Thank you for being patient with me during my travels. Brother D

 

Yesterday, I mentioned the fact that psychologists tell us that when someone is speaking to us we are talking to ourselves at a rate that is ten times faster than the person speaking. How often do we really listen.   The thing that got Jesus most upset was the S & P’s constant nit-picking on the Law. Even while He was telling the wonders of God’s love and mercy, they were working to formulate their re-brutal. You might be interested to know that our word “infant” comes from the Latin ‘in-fans’: meaning non-speaking.

How can we really listen to what God/Jesus is saying to us if we’re always trying to figure out what He really means? When we speak of the wonder of children we often use the term, “with eyes wide open” to describe the beauty of being like little children. Sometimes we just have to shut up and listen to what God is saying to us. How else will we hear Him say, “Come unto me and I will give you rest?”

Here’s a little “test” that might help you: try to articulate what you would really like to hear Jesus saying to you. Take some time. But you might be surprised at what words pop into your mind. A good meditation for today.  Short but sweet!  Amen!

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Tuesday in the 15th Week of the Church Year.blind

Saint for the day: St, Benaventure (1221-1274)

Scripture Readings for today's Liturgy:

Isaiah 7:1-9

Psalm 48

Matthew 11:20-24

 

 

 

Jesus says, “I’m am sending you to open the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf.”

Dear Friends: I’m still travelling and connections to the Internet are not always available so today’s Reflection is “achieved” from 2012

Psychologists tell us that when someone is speaking to us we are talking to ourselves at a rate that is ten times faster than the person speaking. What, then, is the effect? Even as we are hearing what’s being said or reading it, we are busy making our own defense or rebuttal.

Both of today’s scripture readings paint a “woe to you” picture and rather than trying to see how it applies to our own lives we jump into pointing fingers at things outside and around us rather than even thinking that some of what’s being said might apply to us.

I’m sure that many who hear these scripture readings immediately start attaching them to current geo-political situations around our own world. Doing that robs the scriptures of the power intended. When Jesus says, “Woe to you …” he’s not asking us to look at someone out there, but, rather, to see how we, personally, have not listened to God speaking to us.

In these recent days we’ve heard Jesus send his disciples out two-by-two without any provisions. We are sent out – not to make alliances with this or that political faction – but to bring real sight – insight - to those who walk in darkness. We don’t have to look very far around our world today to see that the political way of solving problems just doesn’t work. Alliances made on natural levels are like houses built on sand.

So, what’s our ‘bottom line’ here? We might have to answer the question that Jesus put to Peter, “… but you! Who do you say that I am?”

As both the United States and Kenya are moving towards elections we have to ask: are these candidates seeking ways to lift the burden that weighs heavy on the shoulders of the poor and downtrodden? Or are they looking for ways to increase their own standing and worth? By their fruits you will know them. But be careful when you point fingers at someone – out there! Look at your own motivation before you judge someone else. WOW! I can’t believe I said all that. But it’s out there. So there it stands. If the shoe fits …

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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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