Thursday Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time
Isaiah 26:7-9, 12, 16-19
Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha
As I leave here this morning, and I am going to a bedside of a young man dying of cancer. His dying wish is to have a convalidation done on his 20-year marriage to his lovely wife. As I sat by his bedside yesterday, this man prayer would make Pope Francis proud. He prayed to be strong even in the face of death, he prayed to be strong for his family, to show them how to die with dignity and faith. He prayed, that God would care for his two teenage children and his wife. His natural inclination to God was pouring forth from his heart, and from his lips.
In our first reading, Isaiah’s prayer is to a God in whom he trusts despite all that has happened to him in his lifetime. The prophet says, “My soul yearns for you in the night, yes, my spirit within me keeps vigil for you. You give peace to those who do all these things.” His spirituality is one of waiting for God, trusting in his providence. We learn to appreciate God’s presence with us best in our time of need.
In our gospel, Jesus is revealing the very same thing as he says, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will provide for your rest.” By God’s intimate relationship with us, God makes our yoke easy and our burden light. He is conscious that life can be weary and burdensome, yet he does not make any false promises. The yoke will remain, as will the burden, but with his help, they will become easy and light. This is made possible because Jesus is with us.
Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, knew the truth, of coming to the Eucharist, and laying her burdens down, and knowing peace.
Jesus is right here in this Eucharist, may we lay our burdens down and know that he is walking with us.
Wednesday Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time
Isaiah 10:5-7, 13-16
Matthew 11: 25-27
Our readings, today present us with a wonderful spiritual truth, that we often need to be reminded, and that is, “God in his great power, and wisdom, can use anything to bring about his will.” God can use the good things of our lives to help us to see him, and he can use the darkest coldest parts of our lives to bring about his will.
In our first reading, the Assyrian army has done just what King Ahaz from yesterday had feared would happen. The Assyrian’s have come into Judah, the Southern Kingdom and conquered them. Now the Assyrian’s are bragging about how powerful they are, and they are thanking their pagan gods for this victory. Isaiah rises up and says, “You would have no power if God had not let you conquer Judah. God is using you Assyria to carry out his punishment on his people.”
This is proof to us, that God can use anything to bring about his will in our lives. We look to the Gospel, and we see further what we are to do, when we struggle to live this message. Jesus is in prayer, and says, “Father of all things, in heaven and here on earth; you have hidden the hardest things to understand from the wisest of people. However, we know that you reveal the truth to those things that are hard to understand to those who humbly themselves before, and trust like little children.”
I appear to have it all together, but in my struggles, and in my pain, I know that God is there. It is not when I am perfect, that I know God is with me; it is when I struggle. It is then I come to know God even more. It is at the foot of the cross that I must lay down and weep until my eyes are blurry. Here is where I come to know the love and peace of God. I am praying right now for a miracle to take place in my own family, it will come! I know not when, but it will come!
When all else fails, come to the Eucharist, it is our secret tool, to pain, suffering and doubt. May the Eucharist sustain us today.
Tuesday Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time
Matthew 11: 20-24
This week we are having VBS, and the children of the parish, and surrounding area are here to learn about Christ. It is summer vacation, yet these kids are opening themselves up to God’s calling them to holiness and faithfulness. Our readings help us to return to the Lord, and do all we can to follow the Lord’s will.
In our first reading, what is going on is the Assyrians are a powerful nation, and they have been conquering all the surrounding countries around Israel. The Northern Kingdoms have banded together to form a coalition but in the Southern Kingdom with King Ahaz wants to form an alliance with the Assyrians, which would mean worshiping their pagan gods. Isaiah is encouraging King Ahaz to have courage, and to be strong in faith and God will protect his people. Unfortunately, King Ahaz will not listen.
In our Gospel, Jesus is denouncing the three towns, of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. These three towns are located just north of the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus did most of his ministries. Jesus is reminding them of all the things he has done in their midst, and yet they have failed to believe in him.
Jesus is calling out to us, and are we willing to listen to his voice. He has done great things in our lives, have we forgotten his goodness, and gone on our way? Even on a good day of faith, we could do more. When much has been given much is expected. The Eucharist is given to us, so our heart will be full for the Lord today.
Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Who is our neighbor?” In light of the five police officers killed on the line of duty, in Dallas, protecting others to assemble peaceful. The question of “Who is our neighbor?” is a good one. I do not think it is mere coincidence that we have these readings this weekend after this tragedy. I believe God in his great wisdom is trying to send us a message. Where does this anger, hate and hopelessness, come from? Who is our neighbor? Pause right now! Think of someone who when you see them hear something about you stirs your emotions. It may be gays, Muslims, blacks, or any other nationality. You see, the hatred, anger, and hopelessness, is not out there, but in here. We have the same hatred and anger in us, and God is saying this needs to stop. Our readings challenge us to a new understanding of “Who is our neighbor?”
In our first reading from Deuteronomy Moses says, “God is very much aware of the human condition, of a people not getting along with each other. However, God has put his commands, and his Word in your hearts and in your souls.” The command Moses is making to the people is the same command that God is making on us. We all know what the right thing to do is, we are being commanded now to do it!
In our Gospel, a lawyer, a scholar of the law asks Jesus two questions, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answers, “Love God and your neighbor.” Then he asks, “Who then is my neighbor?” Jesus now answers with a parable of a man who fell victim to robbers and was left for dead. The man was totally helpless, and was not able to speak. A priest and a Levite are the first to encounter him, but they pass by the man. We may be quick to judge them, but we should resist; they, for the most part, represent us. A Samaritan a person who is despised by Jews, because they were Jews who intermarried with Assyrians when the Northern Kingdom was destroyed, now he encounters the man. The Samaritan does more than just a single act of kindness. The Samaritan treats the man’s wounds; he takes him to an inn, pays for his care; he will return to check on him and pay more if needed. Jesus asks, the lawyer, “In your opinion, who was the best neighbor to the wounded man?” The answer is “The one who showed mercy!”
Who is our neighbor? The answer is, anyone who needs mercy, compassion, or understanding. Pope Francis has been challenging us to this all year by proclaiming this year, a Year of Mercy.
My friends in Christ, this is hard passage and meant to challenge us. The last words of Jesus in this passage is “Go and do this in memory of me.” The other time he said these words were at the Last Supper, and he was leaving them the Eucharist. May we be a neighbor to anyone in need of God’s mercy this week!
Friday of the 14th Week Ordinary Time
To end our week, we have absolutely beautiful readings. Thankfully, God never gives up on us!
In our first reading, Hosea is once again pleading for the people to return to the Lord. However, this time there is a very different tone to his message. All week long we have been hearing Hosea, condemning the people for not heading the message from God. Today Hosea says, “God is not giving up on you. God is going to love you freely; for his wrath is turned away from condemning you, God know is forgiving you.” God is waiting for his people to return and when they do he will love them.
In our Gospel, Jesus is not giving up on his disciples, as he sends them out like “sheep among wolves.” Jesus is being very honest with them as to what will happen, as he says, “You will be scourged, handed over to the authorities, and when you are to speak do not worry, I will help you. I will never give up on you!”
In our own lives, when we make wrong judgments, when we are lost, when we are not sure what to say, God will not give up on us. In this Eucharist, may we come to know, that our God is all loving, all forgiving, and all strengthening for our journey of faith today.
Thursday Fourteenth Week of Ordinary Time
Hosea 11:1-4, 8-9
How has God given us everything and provided for us, and brought us through every sort of trial? Our readings challenge us to be eternally grateful for how God has given us everything!
In our first reading, Hosea uses the image of a loving parent who does everything for their little child. The loving parent raises the infant to their cheek and tells them everything. The loving parent feeds the child with rich foods. Hosea says, “God has been like this for you people of Israel; he has given you everything, yet you have ignored God, and now live in your pain.
In our Gospel, Jesus commissions the apostles to go out and to proclaim that Kingdom of God is at hand. Jesus gives them everything they will need on the journey. He gives them power to cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and to drive out demons. This is a complete sharing of all the gift’s God himself gave to his chosen Son. Jesus now gives these same gifts to his Apostles, and they do incredible things.
As we gather may we know that God has giving us everything we need to go out to heal the sick, cleanse lepers, and to comfort those most in need. The Eucharist gives us everything we need, may we go out with great joy!