Wednesday, June 11, 2014
June 15, 2014
Exodus 34:4-6, 8-9; Daniel 3; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; John 3:16-18
The beauty in each of the readings for the Trinity reveal something special in the qualities of God. The responsorial is not a psalm, but a canticle from Daniel where the singer extols the many ways God is an affectionate God who bestows grace and blessings on all people. In the Book of Exodus, God cries out to Moses, “I am a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.” The Gospel tells us that God’s love is so magnificent that God will even give away the most precious part of God’s very self for our sake. God’s motivation for sending his only Son was so that we are saved for eternal life.
Paul in the Second Corinthians remind us that when we accept God’s presence among us, we will live in right relations to God and to those around us. First, we will rejoice because only the matters pertaining to God matters at all. It means we no longer look at our petty grudges and offenses, but we rejoice in that another child of God is in our midst. When we mend our ways (and not condemn and judge the ways of others), when we encourage one another (and not find ways to drag another person down to a more base level), when we live in peace (rather than gossip, talk behind a person’s back, and create dissension), we know the God of love and peace is with us. If we find ourselves doing these negative things, we need to choose if we are going to follow the Ten Commandments that were given to us by Moses and decide to love God and one another. If we find ourselves doing these negative things, it is time to pray that we become real Christians whose God is the one of love and peace. Once we are truly Christians, we can greet one another with a holy kiss.
Life confronts us with many trials and tribulations and we have to examine our motivations when we deal with these complexities. Are our motivations filled with love and peace? If not, get some pastoral help quickly. It is for your salvation after all. God is giving you many opportunities to come along to live the way of sanctification. Please learn how to accept them. Life is too short to live in misery, fear, and the elusive pursuit of trying to change others so that you feel better about yourself. Love and peace. That is where our Christian life needs to be. It is a state of blessedness. If all that you do is for the love of God, the love of neighbor, and even the find out what it means to love of the person who drives you crazy, then you are on the right path and the saints will rejoice with you. Life has enough challenges and God continues to send his son to save you.
If we are to be like God, then we must emulate the qualities of God. Am I affectionate to the point that I bestow blessings upon others? What about being slow to anger and quick to try to eradicate the sources of anger through enriched dialogue that leads to understanding? Are you going out of your way to be exceptionally kind to every person and are you giving away the best parts of yourself? Notice the most important part of this statement: God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so the world might be saved through him.
This means that God loved God’s very self so much to risk becoming vulnerable when God gave away what was dearest to him. Receiving the love and mercy of God precedes our ability to love one another. We cannot love others until we sufficiently love ourselves – and that is a fundamental obstacle to our development as a maturing Christian. We cannot have peace or rightful relations with others until we let God love us enough so we can love ourselves. Maybe your image of God needs to be refined so that you can access God’s loving qualities.
Letting your guard down even for a minute might be an opportunity for you to allow God’s initiatives to penetrate your soul so you can get a glimpse of God’s immense love for you. For many, it is frightening to be loved intimately. Give it a chance. Love and mercy can perform miracles. Sure, it means many scary changes are in order and letting go of illusions and the unhelpful past, but moving onwards and upwards towards a new day creates great loving creative energy. Isn’t it worth risking all on this investment? The rewards and benefits are much more than you can imagine.
Let me conclude with the beginnings of a Trinitarian blessing found in Numbers 6:
May the Lord bless you, and keep you; The Lord make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace.’
Themes for this Week’s Masses
First Reading: After King Ahab asked Naboth to exchange part of his land for his, his wife Jezebel concocted a scheme to shame Naboth so the elders of the community would forbid his transaction. The people killed Naboth and Ahab was free to take his land that was adjacent to the royal palace. The prophet Elijah confronts Ahab to tell him that he will suffer the same fate as Naboth because he acted dishonorably. Ahab repented and prayed that evil would not be brought upon his house. Elijah and Elisha were walking along near the Jordan as they talked about the succession of prophetic powers. Elijah was taken up to heaven on a fiery chariot and Elisha prayed that he would receive double portion of Elijah’s spirit. A song to commemorate the good deeds of Elijah was composed. When royal murders were conducted, the boy Joash was hidden away from harm until he could be mature enough to be declared king. The priest Jehoiada made a covenant with the Lord and then set out to destroy the temple of Baal and all who followed the false idol. Princes came to pay King Joash homage but over time the king began to follow false gods. Zechariah too a stand and was slaughtered. Later in the year, Arameans came up against Joash and defeated him with all the spoils going to Damascus. Joash was killed by his own men and was buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.
Gospel: In Matthew’s Gospel, the Sermon on the Mount continues as Jesus exhorts his people to update their social contract by being forgiving and generous to their adversaries. Love of neighbor is essential for love of God. Love is to be perfect just as God the Father is perfect, so our love must not be exclusive of others. Prayer is to be perfect as well. A praying person is not to be consumed with their public acts that call attention to themselves otherwise they act as hypocrites. Prayer is to be done in private where one’s relationship with the Lord can be uniquely nurtured. Jesus gives his disciples the prayer he often prayed as it synthesizes the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount. The proper treasures for a believer are stored in heaven and not earthly honors. We have to look towards heaven because if we only focus on what is below, our actions will be drawn to evil. No one can serve two masters because it brings about a divided heart. We are to live more simply where we can enjoy the day’s offerings and not worry about what happens tomorrow.
Saints of the Week
June 19: Romuald, abbot (950-1027), was born into a family of dukes from Ravenna and became known for founding the Camaldolese Benedictine order that combined the solitary life of hermits into a monastic community life. He founded other hermitages and monasteries throughout Italy.
June 21: Aloysius Gonzaga, S.J., priest (1568-1591), gave up a great inheritance to join the Jesuits in 1585 in his dreams of going to the missions. However, when a plague hit Rome, Gonzaga served the sick and dying in hospitals where he contracted the plague and died within three months. He is a patron saint of youth.
This Week in Jesuit History
· Jun 15, 1871. P W Couzins, a female law student, graduated from Saint Louis University Law School, the first law school in the country to admit women.
· Jun 16, 1675. St Margaret Mary Alacoque received her great revelation about devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
· Jun 17, 1900. The martyrdom at Wuyi, China, of Blesseds Modeste Andlauer and Remy Asore, slain during the Boxer Rebellion.
· Jun 18, 1804. Fr. John Roothan, a future general of the Society, left his native Holland at the age of seventeen to join the Society in White Russia.
· Jun 19, 1558. The opening of the First General Congregation, nearly two years after the death of Ignatius, was summoned by Fr. Lainez, the Vicar General. Some trouble arose from the fact that Fr. Bobadilla thought himself entitled to some share in the governance. Pope Paul IV ordered that the Institute of the Society should be strictly adhered to.
· Jun 20, 1626. The martyrdom in Nagasaki, Japan, of Blesseds Francis Pacheco, John Baptist Zola, Vincent Caun, Balthasar De Torres, Michael Tozo, Gaspar Sadamatzu, John Kinsaco, Paul Xinsuki, and Peter Rinscei.
· Jun 21, 1591. The death of St Aloysius Gonzaga, who died from the plague, which he caught while attending the sick.