Wednesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time, July 1
May Our Most Merciful and Loving Savior Guide and Lead Us to Wholly Love Him and to Walk in the Freedom of His Way in Our Daily Pilgrimage Through Life.
From the Book of the Prophet Amos, we find in today’s Reading, “Seek good and not evil, that you may live…Hate evil and love good, and let justice prevail…”
As we reflect upon today’s Scripture Readings, we find God reaching out to each one of us and asking the questions, “Have you forsaken all that is of this world out of love for Me? Have you abandoned evil for the sake of true justice, learning to live and love others selflessly as I love you?” And it is these questions which will guide us through today’s meditation.
I remember some time ago when a certain politician, who shall remain anonymous, was attempting to gain the vote of the “religious right”. He attempted to do so by quoting Sacred Scripture; but, more times than not, his attempts at appearing open to and embracing God’s Holy Word came out as an empty attempt to appear spiritually enlightened. Many recognized this false sense of religiosity within his character. Yet, there were still many who believed otherwise and followed him all the way to the voting booth.
In an entirely different vein of thought, when one stays attuned to the current events in the Church on a world-wide scale, we find certain members of clergy and religious making some very poor and selfish decisions in these secular and atheistic times in which we live today, separating themselves from the teaching Magisterium of the Church and sadly leading others astray who follow their charismatic personalities.
And I find myself utterly amazed and quite thankful that we have not experienced in modern times what our earlier Jewish brothers and sisters experienced in their time, when many left the traditions of their fathers to follow new gods, and ended up practicing a religion which was an abomination to the One True God!
Yet, in spite of the darkness which prevailed in man’s heart, God, through His Merciful Love, would still claim His chosen people as His own. And even though He would chastise them for their unfaithfulness, He would always forgive and guide them into a closer relationship with Himself.
And it is this Merciful Love which we find in our Gospel Reading for today. Gadarenes (GAD-uh-reens) was a territory inhabited by Gentiles, as is evident by the herd of swine, an animal and meat considered unclean by Mosaic Law. We are told that two demoniacs were possessed by demons.
In Mark’s Gospel, it tells us that the number of demonic spirits were legion in number. And to give us some perspective on the number of demons about which we are referring, a Roman legion during the time of Christ consisted of about 3,000 men. So we are talking here about a rather dramatic and extensive possession of these poor men!
It is in the very act of God’s Merciful Love for these two Gentiles, who were besieged and tormented for an unknown period of time, that Jesus drove this legion of demons into the herd of swine, which according to Mark’s account, were about 2,000 in number.
We are told that the villagers, after being told of all that had happened, were seized with fear and asked Jesus to leave. As a Gentile people, many had no real understanding of God’s Love and were known to even practice idol worship, an empty form of worship to gods other than the God of the Israelites.
No one had demonstrated such power and authority against the forces of Satan as Jesus did! Unfortunately, as a result, they feared Jesus and begged Him to leave their district.
We might ask ourselves, “Why would they not want Jesus to stay?” Perhaps the price for such liberation from the power of evil and sin, and from the way of life which they had known and lived, was more than they wanted to pay.
As we sincerely and honestly reflect upon the way we live our lives and the way we practice our faith, how many times do we mouth the words of prayer, but have no heart? How many times do we look upon the homeless, the sick, the imprisoned and the less fortunate – and turn a blind eye or a deaf ear?
How many times do we fail to exhibit true justice in our Christian lives – understanding justice to mean our willingness to give to both God and our neighbor that which is rightfully theirs – to God, our love, worship and obedience; to our neighbor, selfless love, dignity and respect?
Even our psalmist today is reciting God’s words, when he sings a prayer of lament, “Why do you recite my statutes, and profess my covenant with your mouth, though you hate discipline and cast my words behind you?”
Today’s Readings are reminding us of the necessity of opening our hearts and our very souls to all that God is asking and expects of us. And Jesus gave us the perfect example of what it means to be obedient to the will of God and to love others, without counting the cost.
In His Divinity, the Eternal Word freely left His Divine Throne, freely left the solace and comfort of His Father’s Love, so that He could take upon Himself our human nature. He freely chose to walk amongst us as the God-Man, to teach us what it truly means to be a faithful worshiper of the One True God –
– the kind of worship which the earlier Israelites in our First Reading had rejected, something of which the Gentiles in our Gospel for today had no real knowledge or understanding.
As we continue to reflect upon the ways in which we practice our faith, do we find ourselves holding back, displeasing God with our failure to be all that He calls us to be? Jesus IS eternally with us, in both Sacrament and Word. And, in His Divine Mercy, He is ready and willing to free us from anything that binds and keeps us from the Love of God.
After all things are considered, are you and I willing to part with anything and everything that might keep us from His Merciful Love and His saving grace?
Let us pray that our Most Merciful and Loving Savior may guide and lead us to wholly love HIM and to walk in the freedom of His way in our daily pilgrimage through life. May we live true justice in our daily lives so that there may be nothing which will keep us from the joy of living in His Eternal Presence.
And, as our Lord tells us through His prophet Amos at the end of our First Reading, “…let justice surge like water, and goodness like an unfailing stream.”
In this way, our way of life shall truly be pleasing to our Most Loving and Merciful God! †
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
- “Seek good and not evil, that you may live…Hate evil and love good, and let justice prevail…” (Amos 5:14a, 15a)
- “The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in mercy. The LORD is good to all, compassionate toward all your works.” (Psalm 145:8-9)
- “Who can measure his majestic power, or fully recount his mercies? …That is why the LORD is patient with man and pours out his mercy on him.” (Sirach 18:5, 11)
- “When he came to the other side, to the territory of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs who were coming from the tombs met him. They were so savage that no one could travel by that road. They cried out, ‘What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?’” (Matthew 8:28-29)
- “The demons pleaded with him, ‘If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine.’ And he said to them, ‘Go then!’” (Matthew 8:31-32a)
- “Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love; in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions. Thoroughly wash away my guilt; and from my sin cleanse me.” (Psalm 51:3-4)
- “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7)
- “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another.” (1 John 4:11)
- “…let justice surge like waters, and righteousness like an unfailing stream.” (Amos 5:24)
- “Those who offer praise as a sacrifice honor me; I will let him whose way is steadfast look upon the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50:23)
Prayer for the Day
“Lord, make me an instrument of Your Love.
May I see each circumstance in my life
as an opportunity to grow in Your Mercy.
May I see my environment
as a place to grow in Your Peace.
“When I am tempted to become impatient,
help me to be patient.
“When I am tempted to become unkind,
help me to be kind.
“When I am tempted to become jealous,
help me to be tolerant.
“When I am tempted to become boastful or proud,
help me give You the glory.
“When I am tempted to be rude or selfish,
give me the gift of gentleness.
“When I am tempted to take offense,
help me to let go.
“When I am tempted to become angry with someone,
give me the gift of forgiveness.
“When I am tempted to become resentful,
give me Your power to love.
“All gifts and all charisms come from You.Anonymous
All will one day come to an end,
with one important exception, the gift of love!
Help me to always love others as You love me. Amen.”