Thursday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time, July 23
May We Be That Rich Example of Christ’s Love, Mercy and Compassion to All Whom Our Lives Touch, So That, One Day, God Will Offer to Each of Us the Greatest of All Riches, the Ultimate Reward for Truly Living and Sharing His Love.
In today’s Gospel, we read Jesus explaining to His disciples, “To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich” – an expression which may, at first glance, appear slightly confusing, until we begin to recognize the depth of its true meaning.
And to understand what it means for us in today’s world and culture, we must first look at this gift of faith which we have been freely given from a God who loves each one of us beyond any measure of human understanding, and how we live this faith in today’s secular and very difficult environment.
When I look upon the young children each year who are preparing themselves for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Communion, there is a sublime innocence about them, a purity of heart and soul which has not yet been tainted by the world’s illusion of happiness, which sadly comes from secular and materialistic pleasures – a false happiness which leads many to a life of greed and selfishness, to a life of arrogance and hedonistic pleasures – and which ultimately ends, for many unfortunate people, in feelings of emptiness and sadness.
I look at these innocent children and pray that their hearts may always be opened to the wonders of God’s Love and Mercy. And yet, we all know that, at some point in their process of growing and maturing, innocence so oftentimes becomes lost.
We can see this in our children and in our grandchildren; and yet, we, as parents and grandparents, continue to pray that they may regain that lost innocence and continue on the path which leads to righteousness – to an ever closer relationship with the God whom we know and love, to a God who only desires to embrace us, to a God who only desires to bless us and to help us on this journey through life.
When we read from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah today, we can feel God’s sadness with His children – how, with great love, He guided them so that they may come to know and love Him. From God’s own Heart, He speaks, “I remember the devotion of your youth, how you loved me as a bride, following me in the desert, in a land unsown. Sacred to the LORD was Israel, the first fruits of his harvest.”
And yet, as His children grew, they began to lose their way and forget the God who was their Eternal Father. And just as we never stop loving and forgiving our own children, so God never stopped loving His.
Even our psalmist, in today’s Responsorial Psalm, speaks of God’s never ending Love and Mercy – “O LORD, your mercy reaches to heaven; your faithfulness, to the clouds…How precious is your mercy, O God! …For with you is the fountain of life, and in your light we see light.”
And this “fountain of life”, this “light we see” – is the Light of the Living Christ Himself! And it is this Divine Light of the faith which we carry within us, a gift freely given by God – a gift to which we are asked to respond by opening our eyes and our ears to His message of Love, to His message of Truth and the promise of eternal life.
It is this knowledge and our response to this gift which ultimately gives us hope, which gives us joy, which gives us a peace that only God Himself can give.
And this knowledge and this response is what was sadly missing in the scribes and the Pharisees in today’s Gospel, for their eyes and their ears were closed; their hearts were as stone, unable or unwilling to accept Jesus’ message of Love and Truth.
In Jesus’ own words, He says not only to His disciples, but also to you and me, for His words are timeless, “…blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear.”
We may not have that special grace with which some of the saints have been blessed in seeing the Risen Christ in bodily form, but we do feel from the very depths of our hearts, and we do see and hear with the eyes and the ears of our souls. And, for our response to the gift of faith which God has given us, truly living our faith in Jesus Christ, God is pleased with us and blesses us.
And just as God constantly reaches out to His lost children – for it is His desire that every single soul reach out to embrace His Love, for, as a Loving Father, He desires that no one be lost – so we, too, should never give up on those whom we love, no matter how much they may have hurt us, no matter how far astray they may have wandered.
Just as God’s Mercy is boundless, just as His Love is relentless, so too should our love be – for all those whom we hold dear to our hearts and all those whom our lives touch in a very special way – for our Lord says to us today, “To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich.”
And it is this richness of faith, with which we have been blessed, which helps us to reach out and embrace others with the same love, with the same mercy, with the same openness of heart which our Lord freely gives to you and me.
It is only when we close our hearts and reject God’s gift, it is only when we turn a blind eye to the needs of others, that our Lord says to us, “from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
Let us pray that we may be that rich example which our loved ones need most in their lives; let us pray that we may be that extension of Christ Himself to all those whom God places in our individual walks of faith.
For, in this way, we truly grow spiritually rich as we travel through life, until that final day approaches for you and me when God will offer us the greatest of all riches, the ultimate reward for truly living and sharing His Love! †
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
- “To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” (Matthew 13:12)
- “For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9)
- “See, then, the kindness and severity of God: severity toward those who fell, but God’s kindness to you, provided you remain in his kindness.” (Romans 11:22ab)
- “I remember the devotion of your youth, how you loved me as a bride, following me in the wilderness, in a land unsown. Israel was dedicated to the LORD, the first fruits of his harvest.” (Jeremiah 2:2-3a)
- “LORD, your mercy reaches to heaven; your fidelity, to the clouds…How precious is your mercy, O God! …For with you is the fountain of life, and in your light we see light.” (Psalm 36:6, 8a, 10)
- “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
- “…blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it. (Matthew 13:16:17)
- “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’ varied grace.” (1 Peter 4:10)
Prayer for the Day
“Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.
“O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.”Saint Francis of Assisi