Patron Saint of:
Daily Prayer - 2015-08-25
I remind myself that I am in your presence O Lord.
Many countries are at this moment suffering the agonies of war.
I remind myself that I am in the presence of the Lord.
The Word of God
Reading 1 1 Thes 2:1-8
You yourselves know, brothers and sisters,
You have searched me and you know me, Lord.
Alleluia Heb 4:12
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 23:23-26
Some thoughts on today's scripture
Begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture you have just read.
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
Cleanse first the inside of the cup. (Matthew 23:26)
Like the cup Jesus speaks of here, our hearts are meant to be receptacles that we allow God to fill and that we then pour into the lives of other people. Sometimes, though, our hearts may feel more like Molly McGee's closet, packed with junk that bursts forth at the slightest touch. All the fears, anger, resentment, inordinate loves, and other rubbish stored there mean less room for God's love and life, less overflow to others.
Whether it's a chaotic closet or an unwashed cup, the remedy is the same: make it clean and usable. Face the grime squarely, and deal with it. Discard the junk. Scour the cup. Take inventory of what's in your heart, and trust in the Father's love for you.
As you engage in this cleaning operation, remember that Jesus' sharp words to the Pharisees were as much impassioned pleas as angry denunciations. God is kind, gentle, and always ready to help you. Remind yourself of that truth frequently: I am making more room for God's love in my life.
So let the Holy Spirit shine the light of Christ in your heart and show you what's cluttering it up. When you pinpoint sin, admit it. Go to Confession and let the priest help you scour your cup as he pronounces the words of absolution. But also be sure that as you do your penance, you let God tell you what he thinks of you: that he loves you passionately; that you are his child, and he holds you next to his heart always; and that you bring him joy.
Remember too that condemnation is not a part of Jesus' message here. Nor is he minimizing the importance of our outward observances. Jesus is encouraging us to make room for more of him while we continue to do the other things as well. More room in your life for God's love, a heart better able to fulfill God's purposes for it—this is good news! Whether you are a missionary in a remote country or a catechist in your suburban parish, you are first a vessel, made to hold and to pour out God's life and love on others.
"Jesus, I want more of you in my heart today!"
1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
In today's 1st Holy Scripture we read "Our exhortation was not from delusion or impure motives, nor did it work through deception." So many stories we hear of brave Christians, are those of when they are held at gunpoint, to declare their witness, "are you, or are you not a follower"? And in our daily lives, nobody is holding a gun to our head...and we reject Christ. We reject to do what He asks, and in doing so, reject to know Him. Oh sure, we'll go to church, and oh sure we'll help out someone we know. But, we have limits. Yesterday, to end a choir practice, a brother that was praying the rosary during the choir practice came up to us and said he wanted to help with his guitar. What you don't know, is that this man works all evening and most of the night. What you don't know, is that this man is struggling to keep his family and faith afloat. What you don't know is that he has to now walk his wife around everywhere because she is going blind. What you don't know is that he doesn't even really know english. All obstacles...all good excuses not to even offer help...right? Well, what you don't know is that in the morning, yesterday, in daily Mass, we all get to make and add our intentions during daily Mass, and he prayed "that we begin to love without limits" and apparently...it is coming from within. And this is what Jesus is after...the heart.
The Psalms pray on "You have searched me and you know me Lord" and "Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know the whole of it..." and so there have been times when I've gone before the Blessed Sacrament, knelt down to pray and begin by saying "Lord, you know what I am about to say, but I have to say it anyway" and I begin, usually with prayers, petitions, pleadings...but many times mixed with thanksgiving. The Holy Bible, the Word of God says that the Lord knew you before you were knit in the womb. And so easily, He knows you before you speak. How often have I spoken with people and know what they are going to say before they speak...and how often have I been wrong? And this is where Jesus is asking you to be merciful...loving, and forgiving.
What does God want more? My love or my time and talents? Easily, if you follow the commandments, you'll love Him first, then naturally you will give time, treasure, and talents. How do you feel when someone lies to you? When politicians lie, it rubs the wrong way, and makes you want to stereotype all of them, they'll say anything to get your vote. What counts are actions which speak louder than words. Our history counts for the future. What should become history is our sin. That way we will be free. We live in a land of the "free" yet in a recent study among nations in the world, the U.S. is at about #20, not even in the top 10. Our so called "freedom" has made it possible to ask for "more freedom" and thus, taking away our freedom. "I have a right to censor this" or "a right to ask for this" and thus it locks away something else. And so your freedom you live in becomes the jail for the whole. And this is why our Lord is asking for more imortant things than your time spent with Him, more important than the things you do for Him and more important than the money you give to Him...all that's fine...but where is your heart? Your desire to be free with free time has locked you up...you have nothing, you "have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity. But these you should have done, without neglecting the others." And what are the others? Who are the "others"? You should do everything He says, without neglecting the most important, Love. And it's easy to speak about love and neglect love. Want a solid example? Think of someone in your life in need. Maybe that alcoholic. Maybe that drug addict. Maybe that sexual pervert. Maybe that lying fool. Maybe that two faced person. Maybe that person that acts like there is no God. Maybe that person that just don't care. Maybe that person is you. We worry more about our appearance than our salvation. We want to be healthy, fit, and good looking and successful, and could care less about that someone in need in your life. And that some "one" could be yourself. We are in dire need of a savior, a friend, a brother, a Father. Even more, someone that will love us unconditionally, right? Look no further, He is there. Jokingly a man said in choir practice yesterday "we have our master here" as he pointed towards me, and I said "no, our master is there" as I pointed to our priest who had joined in our singing, and then I said "your master is over there" as I signaled towards the Blessed Sacrament, and "he is behind you" it was a statue of our Lord pointing to His heart, and I said "He is all around". With Him being so close to you, how can you live a lie? I will leave you with a line an old man yelled at my cursillo back in 2004 "si deberas amas a Dios, como le vas a fallar?" in english "If you really love God, how will you fail Him?"