"Oh, my soul, how much longer do you wish to be so stingy with Jesus? Why so negligent towards Jesus who made You? Why so lazy towards Jesus who redeemed you? Who do you want to love, if you do not want to love Jesus?" — St. Gemma Galgani
MEDITATION OF THE DAY "Solomon prayed for prudence and wisdom so that he might govern God's people rightly. Because his request was unselfish, God granted what he sought. When we pray, we should make sure that our desires are not motivated by selfishness. We should only want those gifts that help us most to serve others." — Rev. Jude Winkler, p. 105 AN EXCERPT FROM Daily Meditations with the Holy Spirit
I slow myself down for a moment, and try to realise that God is present. To me. Here and now. He is in present in what I do, in the people that I meet, and the situations I find myself in daily. How can I make this reality real for myself?
Lord, grant me the grace to be free from the excesses of this life. Let me not get caught up with the desire for wealth. Keep my heart and mind free to love and serve you.
Knowing that God loves me unconditionally, I look honestly over the last day, its events and my feelings. Do I have something to be grateful for? Then I give thanks. Is there something I am sorry for? Then I ask forgiveness.
The Word of God
Thursday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Jas 5:1-6
Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries. Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten, your gold and silver have corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against you; it will devour your flesh like a fire. You have stored up treasure for the last days. and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure; you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter. You have condemned; you have murdered the righteous one; he offers you no resistance.
Responsorial Psalm PS 49:14-15ab, 15cd-16, 17-18, 19-20 R. (Matthew 5:3) Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs! This is the way of those whose trust is folly, the end of those contented with their lot: Like sheep they are herded into the nether world; death is their shepherd and the upright rule over them.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs! Quickly their form is consumed; the nether world is their palace. But God will redeem me from the power of the nether world by receiving me.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs! Fear not when a man grows rich, when the wealth of his house becomes great, For when he dies, he shall take none of it; his wealth shall not follow him down.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs! Though in his lifetime he counted himself blessed, "They will praise you for doing well for yourself," He shall join the circle of his forebears who shall never more see light.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Alleluia See 1 Thes 2:13 R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Receive the word of God, not as the word of men, but as it truly is, the word of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mk 9:41-50
Jesus said to his disciples: "Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.
"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.
"Everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid, with what will you restore its flavor? Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
As a Christian, I bear the name of Christ. I strive to think and feel and act as he might. I pray that today, and every day, I may see with his eyes, listen with his ears, speak with his words, and touch with his hands.
As Christians, we are the salt of the earth. Salt has always been used to preserve, to cleanse, to add flavour, to purify. Salt in the Old Testament was the symbol of an unbreakable covenant. May we never break faith with you, Lord.
What is stirring in me as I pray? Am I consoled, troubled, left cold? I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting at my side and share my feelings with him.
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
In today's first reading, James upbraids his readers for storing up treasure for their own personal gain—but his concern goes far beyond their individual actions. He is concerned for the state of their hearts, as well as for the eternal consequences this will have on them. Instead of keeping their hearts "lean" by putting love into action, James tells them that they have "fattened" their hearts by focusing on themselves. Evidently, some of them were withholding wages from their farmworkers so that they themselves could live in luxury. James calls this a kind of "murder" because it keeps people locked in poverty and hopelessness (James 5:6).
James knew that where there is no kindness or justice, there is no love. He knew that people who have been touched by the Lord know better than to practice abuses like these. And so he reproaches them not only for what they have done but also for the way they have let their hearts become hardened.
James understood that our actions reveal the state of our hearts. When we are moved by the love of God, we naturally look for ways we can share that love with the people around us. We begin to think and act like Jesus, not because we are trying to put on a show, but because our hearts are being formed by his Holy Spirit.
At the same time, James is telling us that there are ways that we can make our hearts more "lean." We shouldn't just wait for the Spirit to change us; we can take steps to change ourselves. We can condition our hearts by putting our loving thoughts and impulses into action.
But it's not all up to us. Every time we choose to act in love, the Holy Spirit takes our efforts and transforms them with his power.
So stretch yourself today. Try to be a little more patient. Try to endure someone's faults with a smile. Take that extra step to be generous to someone you might ordinarily walk past. If you exercise charity, charity will exercise you. God's love will replace the fears and selfish tendencies that drag you down. It's a gradual conversion process that has eternal merit!
"Father, teach me how to put love into action. I want to enrich my heart by imitating your merciful love."
In the world there are rich people and there are poor people, and there are people in between, many of which believe they are poor, or rich. So what is the issue that St. James says when today we heard "Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your fields are crying aloud"? I remember a quote by St. Basil the Great, "When someone steals another's clothes, we call them a thief. Should we not give the same name to one who could clothe the naked and does not? The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry; the coat unused in your closet belongs to the one who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the one who has no shoes; the money which you hoard up belongs to the poor."
I have a closet full of coats and shoes and shirts and pants and ties, and so much more in there. What's the deal? I have some savings earmarked for kids college, I have a health plan, I have a small retirement deal that I have to pay into but if I stop it will go away. What's the deal? The Catholic Church doesn't condemn riches, but how we use them. It is good to provide for your family, but we have to watch to what degree this consumes us. So, let's say, there is someone that needs my coat, or shoes, or a car, or time, or money, or warmth, or compassion...let's say there is someone like that out there. Do we bother looking? Not most, not really. You have to go out of "your way" to find needy people many times. And many times they are right in front of you and you don't even notice it, or have thought it something else. Let's say, you know someone that is addicted to something that is hurting them. How far out of your way will you go to help them...or better said...save them? Now we are getting into spirituality mode, but it all goes hand in hand. How much then...do I really love?
We prayed today "Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!" It would be to no surprise to me, if that addicted person dies, and is found in Heaven, and me, somewhere else, not in Heaven. All because I was too busy for them, all because I thought they brought it on themselves. All because I thought this, and I thought that. All because I thought my prayers were enough. This is a reality our Lord wants us to face as we live. LIfe is too short and too precious not to care...for HIM.
In comes the Lord of our Lives today, thank you Lord, I don't deserve this, and I need this...""Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea." What you say, and how you live is teaching others around you, other children of God. Parents, take note. Fathers, take note. We've a tremendous responsibility in spirituality. If you teach God's children the wrong way, it would lead possibly to their eternal death. I've heard of some softening the message on certain issues to such a degree that it seems almost permissible, for instance, the issue of co-habitating (living together and having relations), and the issue of missing Holy Mass for this reason or that, it is softened to such a degree that people take it overboard and then raise hell against the Church because of these teachings. It is like letting your kids be spoiled, never spanking them or disciplining them correctly, and they grow up to hate you and some even want their parents dead. Leading others to sin is grave and has our name marked on the guilt as much as we would want to blame it on the evil one, it is the temptation that was the only culprit. No one makes you do anything, it is the temptations. And so, the Lord was first heard today saying something more simple today for the greater good ""Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward." Giving to the priests, to the Christians, to the Christ followers, or simply because they have Christ in them is good. Learn to do good. Learn to give. Learn that even the small things matter with great love as St. Therese of Lisieux in a letter to Celine, July 6, 1893 said "We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love", or as Mother Teresa said, 'Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.' I like that bumper sticker of years ago that said "Lord I may be small potatoes, but this Spud's for you!"
So what of all the junk in your life? Get rid of it. Get rid of that stuff that keeps you away from God, it's like the stored stuff is obstacles. Giving fills you. Give your 10% minimum in tithing. Give to the Lord when He is presented, help them out of their addictions, help them see they are sinning, help them and save them! God is pleading, "please take care of my children!" They are dying and I'm living the life of luxury without a care (for them) in the world except for all my worries and problems. The secret to heal you is to seek them. Have you lost a parent? Adopt one in a nursing home. Have you lost a child? Adopt one, teach Sunday school. Have you lost your job? Find one helping the Lord. Have you lost your faith? It is a gift of God, how can you lose it? Ask for another...He gives all things good. Ask for a generous and giving heart, lest we die suddenly with all things stored up for nothing. Today is the day. All your good thoughts and intentions are good as nothing because they have not been realized. Break out of your shell. Break out of your thoughts. Break out of your doubts and fears. Seek the Lord, and He WILL BE FOUND.
I am praying for you daily when I send this and I ask for you to pray for me. We are in this together and we WILL make a difference in the light of the World because Christ is alive and is in us all!