Monday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time, July 27
Let Us Pray to Our Heavenly Father that We May Always Be Receptive to the Promptings of the Holy Spirit, Who Only Wishes to Save Us from Every Sin and Give Us the Most Precious Gift of All – Eternal Life.
From the Book of Deuteronomy, we read in today’s Responsorial antiphon the sentiments expressed in our First Reading, “You have forgotten God who gave you birth.”
Today, we continue to read about God’s displeasure with His children, a Chosen People who had tasted and seen the power of God’s Goodness. But through each succeeding generation, they had become a people who had fallen further and further away from His Fatherly Love – a sadness which only a parent can truly understand.
For those of us who are old enough to remember, there was a time when Sunday Masses were filled with people, almost to the point of standing-room-only. I remember, as a child, going to Mass with my parents every Sunday morning, and we would always arrive early so that we would be able to find a seat.
Today, the only time we find standing-room-only is maybe on Ash Wednesdays and at the Easter and Christmas Masses.
I remember, as a child, going with my parents to Saturday afternoon Confessions. We would also go to Confession early, because the lines for Confession would back up from the Confessional all the way up the aisle to the Sanctuary. And there were two Confessionals, so there were two very long lines – EVERY Saturday afternoon.
When I began preparing this meditation on today’s Scripture Readings, I found myself asking the question, “Is God sad or upset with us today, just as He was with His children in our First Reading from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah?”
As a parent, how do we feel when our children turn their backs on us? How do we feel when our sons and daughters ignore us or are blatantly disobedient, maybe even becoming disrespectful or verbally abusive towards us?
Because we love them, we find ourselves being hurt, sometimes even upset. We remember all that we did for them, nourishing them with our love, taking care of them, feeding them, clothing them, teaching them the difference between right and wrong.
And yet, sometimes our children decide on traveling a path which takes them further and further away from us, and from all the loving care that we wish to give.
We can now begin to somewhat understand, in a very limited way, the sadness within God’s Heart, when we, as His children, turn OUR backs on Him, when we turn our backs on His teachings which He has given us through Sacred Scripture and His Beloved Bride, the Church.
Even our Responsorial antiphon today, which comes from the Book of Deuteronomy, gives us a prayer which speaks to the heart of much of what we find wrong in our world today, “You have forgotten God who gave you birth.”
In my lifetime, the one Papal Encyclical which has probably evoked the most dissent on the part of the Catholic faithful is Pope St. Paul VI’s “Humanae Vitae [Of Human Life]”, an encyclical, a papal letter written in 1968, which taught about the beauty of human sexual love, and an openness to the creation of new life, a love between a husband and wife which is selfless in its total giving of oneself to the other.
What most Catholics saw in this, however, sadly including a large number of the Church’s clergy, was a list of negatives regarding human contraception and birth control. In reality, “Humanae Vitae” was a blueprint which would help God’s children live in closer communion with Himself, and with each other.
It was a blueprint, a guide which would help to foster a climate of moral conduct which could only lead to greater holiness, and a greater openness and the total, selfless giving of spousal love between husband and wife.
Today, there are legitimate studies which have shown that, by ignoring the teachings of “Humanae Vitae”, much of society has lost its moral compass – promiscuity and premarital sex has become the norm, and the total giving of selfless love between husbands and wives have, in certain respects, degenerated to a love of selfishness – all of this resulting in a general lowering of respect for the beauty of womanhood!
“Humanae Vitae” was a gift from God to help His children stay on the right path, during a time in our lives when society was going through its “sexual revolution”, the Vietnam War, the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Reverend Martin Luther King and Senator Robert Kennedy!
This encyclical was a gift from God, through His Vicar on Earth, to help us live in a proper, moral and holy way through a period of great upheaval in human history. But many turned their backs on this gift and rejected it outright, without even giving it a chance or trying to truly understand the profoundness of what was being presented to the world.
And the actions of many today are no different from those during the time of Jeremiah, in which we read: “This wicked people who refuse to obey my words, who walk in the stubbornness of their hearts, and follow strange gods to serve and adore them, shall be like this loincloth which is [rotted and] good for nothing.”
And when we look at our Gospel Reading for today, we find our Lord teaching in parables. In Matthew’s Gospel, a few verses earlier, Jesus is quoted as saying, “This is why I speak to them in parables, because ‘they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.’”
In our hearts, for those of us who truly desire to live God’s message, who truly wish to place God’s Truth at the very center of our lives, Jesus said in a couple verses later, “But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear.”
Jesus is teaching us today about the Kingdom of Heaven. When our hearts are open, and when we yield our lives to Jesus Christ and allow His Word, His Truth, to take root in our hearts, in the very core of our being, we become transformed and are made holy by the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us!
The very thought of the wonder which is the Kingdom of God produces a transformation in those who freely choose to open the eyes and the ears of their hearts and souls to receive the new life which Jesus Christ offers, and He freely offers this new life to each of His children!
All He asks of us is that we surrender ourselves to His Love, that we be open to the virtues of obedience, humility and a true poverty of spirit – a willingness to detach ourselves from secularistic thinking, from all that does not come from God.
Let us pray to our Heavenly Father – who is already so deeply offended by His children who freely choose to remain lost – that our love, our faith and our desire to be opened to the teachings of His Son will never allow us to forget the God who “gave us birth” –
– and that we may always be receptive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, who only wishes to save us from every sin and give us the most precious gift of all – eternal life! †
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
- “You were unmindful of the Rock that begot you, you forgot the God who gave you birth. The LORD saw and was filled with loathing, provoked by his sons and daughters.” (Deuteronomy 32:18-19)
- “This wicked people who refuse to obey my words, who walk in the stubbornness of their hearts and follow other gods, serving and worshiping them, will be like this loincloth, good for nothing.” (Jeremiah 13:10)
- “This is why I speak to them in parables, because ‘they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.’ Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: ‘You shall indeed hear but not understand, you shall indeed look but never see. Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and be converted, and I heal them.’” (Matthew 13:13-15 ~ Isaiah 6:9c-10)
- “Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world.” (1 John 2:15-16)
- “…for one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, it is a sin.” (James 4:17)
- “Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ…” (Philippians 1:27a)
- “But the kindness of the LORD is from eternity to eternity toward those who fear him, And his justice toward children’s children among those who keep his covenant.” (Psalm 103:17-18)
- “But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear.” (Matthew 13:16)
- “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of flesh and spirit, making holiness perfect in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1)
Prayer for the Day
“Heavenly and Eternal Father,
as Your child, I seek Your help and guidance.
Do not let me succumb to the temptations in life,
so as to fall into error and separate myself from You.
“Lord Jesus Christ,
You died for me so that I may be saved from sin.
Strengthen me through Your gentle and tender Love,
so that, by Your grace, I may always be one with You.
“Most Holy Spirit,
open my heart to all that destroys the soul.
Turn me from sin and all the snares of the devil
who deceives my mind and fills my soul with lies.
“Almighty and Eternal God,Anonymous
grant me the grace to love only what comes from You.
Strengthen me to resist the seductions of evil,
so that my life may praise the glory of Your Most Holy Name,
both now and for all eternity in Your Kingdom. Amen.”