Thursday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time, September 24
Let Us Pray That All the Ingredients of Living Our Daily Lives Be Included, So That We Will Know That Our Recipe Has Always Been Filled with That Most Essential of All Components – God’s Loving Presence!
We hear Herod asking an essential question in today’s Gospel, “Who then is this about whom I hear such things?” It is a very basic and fundamental question which each of us had also asked when we first started to learn about our faith. “Who then is this Jesus?”
In this life of faith which has developed within each one of us, I am sure that, as the end of each day approaches, many of us probably look back and take stock of what we have accomplished and what still remains undone.
And there are days at work, or at school, or even in the home when, no matter how hard we have worked, or how busy we occupy our time, we sometimes walk away feeling like we have not accomplished enough or that we have forgotten something important, especially when we get older. And that “something” does not feel quite right. It is as though something significant is missing and we cannot quite put our finger on it.
During these times, I am sure that we feel a certain frustration, a certain emptiness or dissatisfaction that we cannot quite put into focus. It would be like a cherished recipe passed down from generation to generation. It looks the same when finished, but, when eaten, it doesn’t quite taste the same – something is missing, possibly an essential ingredient which we forgot to include.
When it comes to our life of faith, unless we actively live what we have been taught, faith itself can seem barren and dry, even dead. We can say we believe, but there is an emptiness to our belief.
We may even go through the motions of going to church, but some essential ingredient seems to be missing, and, so, we leave after Mass feeling as though we got nothing out of it. And when the Eucharist doesn’t seem to fill that void we feel within ourselves, even our prayer life can take upon itself a spiritual dryness, for our heart and our soul feels empty and doesn’t realize or recognize the wonder of God’s Presence all around us!
And this appears to be the frustration we find in our First Reading today from the Book of Ecclesiastes, when Qoheleth exclaims, “…vanity of vanities! All things are vanity! …All speech is labored; there is nothing one can say. The eye is not satisfied with seeing nor is the ear satisfied with hearing.”
When one walks through life without ever being open to the wonders which surround us – the beauty and the fragrance of a simple flower, the changing of the seasons and the warm autumn colors, the beauty of a fresh blanket of snow on the ground or the sparkling beauty of frozen ice along the edges of a tree branch, even the cry of new life as a child is born into the world –
– these are just a handful of countless wonders of God’s creation which surround us each and every year! And unless our heart is open to recognizing and appreciating the beauty in God’s creation, all life can seem like vanity – where every step we take can seem futile and empty.
King Herod’s life in today’s Gospel was no different. Oh, he surrounded himself with empty pleasures, but nothing gave meaning to his life. He was fascinated with the charisms which filled the life of John the Baptist, but also felt a certain sadness when he had to fulfill a promise made to Herodias’ daughter Salome, when she asked to have John beheaded.
In a similar way, King Herod is both curious and fascinated by this man called Jesus. He questions his advisors regarding the identity of this person about whom he has heard stories. “Who…is this about whom I hear such things?” Unbeknownst to Herod, Jesus IS the missing ingredient in his life!
Back to our own sense that something is missing – when we find ourselves confronted with these feelings of futility or emptiness, even if we believe we have done all that we should have done in any given situation, it is likely that we have relied too heavily upon our own efforts and not allowed God to be present in our thoughts and in our words and actions.
When we begin to sense that something is missing, that something is out of place or not quite right, we need to take the time to listen to that voice within us. That inner voice may be more than just our conscience speaking to us.
It may well be the whisperings of God’s voice, awakening within each one of us a need to keep ourselves focused on what truly matters in our lives – a personal and an intimate relationship with the Living God who created us, with the God who sacrificed Himself for you and me in the Person of His Son made flesh, and with the God who constantly sanctifies and strengthens us daily – all out of Divine Love for each and every one of us!
It is only when we include this most essential ingredient in our daily thoughts and our daily activities that we begin to truly feel complete, that we begin to truly feel contented and at peace – realizing that our life is incomplete unless we allow God to become an essential element within us!
Our psalmist today echoes this very thought when he writes, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart…Fill us at daybreak with your kindness, that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days…Prosper the work of our hands for us! Prosper the work of our hands!”
Let us pray today that all the ingredients of our life be present, so that, as we look back upon our accomplishments in the growth of our faith, we will know that our recipe has always been filled with that most essential of all components – God’s Loving Presence!
For you and I know what Herod did not – that this Person, whose Most Holy Name is Jesus, the Christ, the Anointed One, has proven that His Love for us is truly THE ONLY ingredient which gives our life true meaning! †
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
- “Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying, ‘John has been raised from the dead’…But Herod said, ‘John I beheaded. Who then is this about whom I hear such things?’ And he kept trying to see him.” (Luke 9:7, 9)
- “…vanity of vanities! All things are vanity! …All things are wearisome, too wearisome for words. The eye is not satisfied by seeing nor has the ear enough of hearing.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2bc, 8)
- “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart…Fill us at daybreak with your mercy, that all our days we may sing for joy…May the favor of the Lord our God be ours. Prosper the work of our hands! Prosper the work of our hands!” (Psalm 90:12, 14, 17)
- “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16)
- “All good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.” (James 1:17)
- “And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5)
- “I delight to do your will, my God; your law is in my inner being!” (Psalm 40:9)
- “For whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.” (1 John 5:4)
- “…for us there is one God, the Father, from whom all things are and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are and through whom we exist.” (1 Corinthians 8:6)
Prayer for the Day
“Our Eternal and Most Loving Father in Heaven,
may everything I do begin with Your inspiration,
continue with Your saving help,
and reach perfection under Your guidance.
“With Your Loving Care, guide me in my daily actions,
and help me to persevere with love and sincerity.
Teach me to judge wisely the things of Earth
and to always love the things of Heaven.
“Your Spirit instilled in my heart that I am Your child,
and I am confident to call You my Father.
Keep me in Your Presence always
and never let me be separated from You.
“Make Your Love and Mercy the foundation of my life;Anonymous
teach me to long for Heaven as my eternal Home.
May its promise and hope guide my way on Earth
until I finally reach eternal life with You. Amen.”