Thursday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time, August 8
Together As One Body of Believers, One Body of Followers, We Are the Body of Christ, Truly Becoming Our Lord’s Most Beautiful Bride.
“Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father” – our Lord’s declaration of the gift of faith which filled Peter’s heart, mind and soul.
When we wake up each morning, I am sure that each of us is thankful for being able to appreciate another sunrise, grateful for another day of life. But I am confident that we are also very thankful and appreciative for having been born and raised to experience all the wonders and the holy traditions which we live and share in our Catholic, Christian faith.
We are called Christians because we are followers, disciples of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – the Eternal Word made flesh, the Incarnate Wisdom – so that we may, in a much more perfect way, come to know and love His Father better, so that we may continuously grow into a closer relationship, into a more intimate communion with the God who has created us in His image, inviting each of us to remain with Him for all eternity.
It was no different for those who sojourned in the desert some 3½ millennia ago, for God invited His children even then to remain in close relationship with Himself, a relationship which began with Abraham in which God called His chosen children to live in communion with His will – a relationship in harmony and love with the God who cares for His creation as a Loving Father cares for His children.
But sadly, for reasons of obstinacy and arrogant pride, His children would constantly rebel, trying even the patience of a humble and meek Moses. And, in their persistent stubbornness, they could never fully grasp the profound Love which God had for each of them; they never came to truly know the Father who called them His own.
And we are reminded of this sadness when we reflect upon the words in today’s Responsorial Psalm, “Oh, that today you would hear his voice: ‘Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as in the day of Massah in the desert, Where your fathers tested me; they tested me though they had seen my works.’”
Today, however, as a Christian people, we have a much deeper and more profound awareness of our God; for it was Jesus, Himself, who invited us into knowing His Father – a Father who only desires to love and embrace His children, a Father who only desires to open our hearts to His Mercy, a Father who only desires to give to each of us His Spirit, constantly guiding and teaching us, constantly enlightening and sanctifying us throughout our daily lives.
And in order that we may be assisted in the nourishment of our faith, Christ gave us His Bride, “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church…”
And it is through the establishment of the Primacy of Peter and the unbroken Apostolic succession throughout the centuries, it is through the teaching authority of the Church’s Magisterium by which we are fed with both God’s Word and Sacrament, by which we are nourished with God’s Truth – a Truth which is never changing and always constant – as we continue to live and grow in our knowledge and understanding of our deep Christian heritage.
Sadly, however, when we look around us, we see many of our brothers and sisters wandering blindly in a society, in a world which is overwhelmed with so much darkness.
For some, it becomes so difficult to set aside their way of life, a life which is lived in the shadows and which has taken hold of their very spirit – for they continue to trudge through life, falsely believing that the enticements, the glamour of materialism, of a secular, worldly way of thinking and living is what this life is all about.
For those who have freely given themselves to a life of darkness, seduced by Satan as if the darkness itself is a habit-forming drug, their hearts are unable to recognize the sublime beauty and wisdom which is found within the Light of God’s Truth.
And as long as they continue to embrace the lies implanted in their hearts by Satan, who is the prince of darkness in this world, they remain powerless in opening their hearts to God’s Spirit, embracing His Truth and expressing the ultimate statement of faith as Peter did today, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
And Jesus responds, “…I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” The gates of death, the gates of hell, the prince of this world cannot overcome what the Son of God has established, for the Eternal Word Incarnate protects His Church, His Bride, as a jealous Spouse!
Yes, when we take the time to study Church history, we will find periods of upheaval and dissent; and we just went through a period of great scandal regarding the weakness of the flesh with some of the ordained clergy. But God’s Love sustains His Church, and He has done so, in spite of human failings and weaknesses, for almost two thousand years, and He will continue to do so until the end of time.
This Church, this most beautiful Bride of Christ, is our spiritual home, a home in which we feel safe and protected, a home in which we are nourished and fed. And this Church is not just the building in which we worship, for WE are the Church.
We, together as one body of believers, one body of followers – we ARE the Body of Christ. In this way, both you and I truly become His most beautiful Bride!
Let us always profess and believe, from the very depths of our hearts, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, the Eternal Word made flesh for each and every one of us. And may our faith remain strong especially in times of temptation and adversity, in times of difficulties, trials and tribulations!
And may each of us faithfully follow our Lord and Savior, until the day when we shall hear His voice say to both you and me, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Oh, that today you would hear his voice: Do not harden your hearts as at Meribah, as on the day of Massah in the desert. There your ancestors tested me; they tried me though they had seen my works.” (Psalm 95:7b-9)
- “These are the waters of Meribah, where the Israelites contended against the LORD, and where he revealed his sanctity among them.” (Numbers 20:13)
- “Simon Peter said in reply, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God’” (Matthew 16:16)
- “Jesus said to him in reply, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.’” (Matthew 16:17)
- “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:18-19)
- “Every house is founded by someone, but the founder of all is God. Moses was ‘faithful in all his house’ as a ‘servant’ to testify to what would be spoken, but Christ was faithful as a son placed over his house. We are his house, if only we hold fast to our confidence and pride in our hope.” (Hebrews 3:4-6)
- “So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord.” (Ephesians 2:19-21)
- “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27)
- “He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he himself might be preeminent.” (Colossians 1:18)
- “I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Revelation 21:2)
- “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 25:34bc)
Prayer for the Day
“Lord God, Creator of Heaven and Earth,
You have given us the great day of rejoicing:
Jesus Christ, the Stone rejected by the builders,
has become the Cornerstone of the Church,
our Spiritual Home.
“Shed upon Your Church the rays of Your Glory,
that it may be seen as the gate of salvation
open to all nations.
“Let cries of joy and exultation ring out from its tents,
to celebrate the wonder of Christ’s Resurrection. Amen.”cf. Psalm-prayer from the Roman Breviary