Friday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time, July 30
Let Us Pray that Each of Us, As Members of the Body of Christ, with Hearts Filled with Compassionate Understanding and Selfless Love, Will Always Reach Out with Patience and Humility to All Who Are in Most Need of God’s Limitless Mercy.
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house.” – an expression which I personally found to be so true.
When I began to prepare my meditation on today’s Scripture Readings, the experience of Jesus reminded me of some of my own past experiences.
I remember mentioning this once before in a prior Mediation. Over the course of many years, I had been involved in several different ministries attending to the needs of the Body of Christ in whatever direction the Spirit had led me. And there were several instances in which family and friends, at one time or another, would ask for spiritual or moral advice.
And no matter how pastorally I would approach their concerns or questions, they would almost never like to hear the Church’s teachings, especially when the teachings contradicted their own way of thinking or personal convictions. I suppose they figured I would change God’s Truth to address their issues in a way that would be pleasing or acceptable to them.
Today, we read that our Lord was rebuked by those who were listening to His teachings and who were familiar with Him while He was growing up in His home village. And Scripture says, “…he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith.”
And when we look around us today and observe all that is taking place, all that is transpiring in today’s world, we become witnesses as to how today’s society ridicules the teachings of the Church and those who openly profess their faith. And we also discern how society’s respect for Christian moral values has disintegrated to the point where immoral conduct and lifestyles have become socially and legally acceptable.
We even observe, with great sadness, that in some places of our country and in the world, refusing to become a participant in the wholesale slaughter of innocents in the wombs of their mothers, or refusing to recognize or endorse same-sex marriages, can invite upon ourselves public ostracizing, or legal reprisals such as fines and imprisonment. And Christians are erroneously branded as radical extremists who embrace a religion which is intolerant and discriminatory.
As a sad consequence, more and more are proclaiming that Christians, especially traditional Catholics, are synonymous with hate groups, since our faith condones neither homosexuality nor transsexualism.
In general, many people no longer recognize the importance of God in their lives. And if they do not recognize God, then they will certainly not recognize or acknowledge the Natural Law established by God, nor His Commandments or Statutes which were and are designed to guide us into embracing a righteous and holy lifestyle.
I am sure that many of us, who are of age, remember during our youth when there was a general respect for the Church and its clergy; and there was a real respect for Christian moral values within society. Even Hollywood, decades ago, showed a certain degree of respect for decency in the numerous movies it produced.
But, as the years progressed, God’s Truth no longer became relevant, desirable or acceptable, and the voices of agnostics and atheists began to overcome the voices of the silent majority, with their devious and outright appalling cry, “God is dead!” And, recently, we hear the words coming from certain factions within society, “Hail Satan!”
The eyes and ears of many hearts and souls have sadly begun to be closed to the ONLY Truth given to man, a Truth which had been taught and accepted for millennia.
I, together with so many of my generation who still desired to remain in close communion with our God, could see, within the hearts of so many people from all walks of life, a general lessening of faith and a very real growth of a personal egoism and self-centeredness.
And in one’s personal views of what truth should be – truth was altered to become whatever was pleasing and acceptable to each person’s individual whims and point of view (a behavioral thinking and acting called relativism) – especially when peoples’ hearts were closed, and they didn’t like being told what they could or could not do – all as a result of personal pride and selfishness, and a general distaste for the virtues of humility, purity and obedience to the will of God.
From all eternity, and in the wisdom of God, He knew of the fickleness of man’s heart, and, if not constantly reminded, man would continuously stray from God’s ways.
That is why we find, in our First Reading from the Book of Leviticus, God establishing rules so that His children would always be reminded of the significance of keeping their lives centered on the God of their fathers, always being reminded of what should always be kept most important and central in their lives.
And throughout the passage of time, God’s expectations of us have never changed. That is why the Church considers it obligatory for us to attend Sunday Mass, unless there is a valid reason for not attending. That is why we have solemn Holy Days of Obligation and other Feastdays, and many other forms of worship – to remind us that God should always be at the very center, the very focal point of our daily lives.
Sadly, however, so many people then, and so many today, have lost sight of why we are here, and what this life is truly all about. God is reminding us through the words of today’s psalmist which we find in our Responsorial, “There shall be no strange god among you nor shall you worship any alien god. I, the LORD, am your God…”
Even our Lord, Himself, had a difficult time relating to those from His own home village. And Scripture tells us, “And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house.’”
God has given us this most wondrous gift of life so that we may come to know, love and serve Him, thereby giving Him glory, and receiving from Him the reward of eternal life with Him and all His angels in His Heavenly Kingdom!
The challenge for the Church today is reaching out to our separated brothers and sisters, evangelizing God’s Truth with compassion and love, mercy and understanding – all without watering down, without diluting God’s Truth one iota – and, at the same time, without creating additional barriers between the Church and God’s children.
God calls us to be a holy people, a people unto His own – a people redeemed by Christ, a people to bear witness to a God who is Love, to a God who is the only Truth which truly matters. And as a holy people, we are each called to give witness to the Truth by our own life of faith – through our witness to compassion and love, mercy and understanding which we actively show towards one another.
We cannot do this unless we keep ourselves focused on what is truly most important. By frequenting the Sacraments, by making prayer an important and integral part of our daily lives, we are enabled and strengthened to become Christ-like to all those around us – to both family and friends alike.
Let us pray that each and every one of us, as members of the Body of Christ, with hearts filled with compassionate understanding and selfless love, in imitation of all that Christ has taught us and all that He expects of us, will always reach out with patience and humility to all who are in most need of God’s limitless and indescribable Mercy.
And may His loving embrace gently guide His lost sheep back into the one true fold, where we may all be one, giving praise and glory to His Most Holy Name. †
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
- “He came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue. They were astonished and said, ‘Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds?’ …And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house.’ And he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith.” (Matthew 13:54, 57-58)
- “For this is a law for Israel, an edict of the God of Jacob…‘There shall be no foreign god among you; you shall not bow down to an alien god. I am the LORD your God.’” (Psalm 81:5, 10-11a)
- “These, therefore, are the festivals of the LORD which you shall declare holy days, in order to offer as an oblation to the LORD burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and libations, as prescribed for each day, in addition to the LORD’s sabbaths, your donations, your various votive offerings, and the voluntary offerings that you present to the LORD.” (Leviticus 23:37-38)
- “He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God” (John 1:11-12a)
- “Their wickedness blinded them, and they did not know the hidden counsels of God.” (Wisdom 2:21b-22a)
- “…the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, so that they may not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4)
- “Do not fear, even though there are briers or thorns and you sit among scorpions…You must speak my words to them, whether they hear or resist, because they are rebellious.” (Ezekiel 2:6b, 7)
- “Show us favor, LORD, show us favor, for we have our fill of contempt. Our souls are more than sated with mockery from the insolent, with contempt from the arrogant.” (Psalm 123:3-4)
- “So our eyes are on the LORD our God, till we are shown favor.” (Psalm 123:2cd)
- “First of all, then, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone…This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1, 3-4)
- “[The Lord] is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9b)
- “Do I find pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord GOD? Do I not rejoice when they turn from their evil way and live?” (Ezekiel 18:23)
- “My brothers, if anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone bring him back, he should know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20)
- “…there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.” (Luke 15:7)
Prayer for the Day
“Dear Jesus,Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta
help me to spread Your fragrance everywhere I go.
“Flood my soul with Your Spirit and Love.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly
that all my life may only be a radiance of Yours.
“Shine through me and be so in me
that every soul I come in contact with
may feel Your Presence in my soul.
“Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus.
Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as You shine,
so to shine as to be a light to others.”