Saturday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone!
Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God,
with all your heart,
and with all your soul,
and with all your strength. (Dt 6:4-5)
Although God works through us and through many of His creatures, His Providence is most clearly seen when He accomplishes for us what is beyond us. The children of Israel were taught to love this most famous of Mosaic preachings which we hear proclaimed in the first reading today. Know by its opening word in Hebrew, the Shema continues to be one of the most favored prayers of the Chosen People. The call still resounds to hear, and to rejoice in hearing that only the most loving Lord is the one whom we will worship and love as God. The Lord who protects and guides us, who cares for us each and every day, who is the cause of our joy if we but attend to His good works.
This is why Jesus calls his disciples to self-denial. So that there might be room in their hearts for faith in God, room in their lives for God’s action. In today’s Gospel, the apostles are sincerely confused about why they could not cure the possessed child. Perhaps it was because they thought that they could cure the boy, that is to say, they thought they could do so on their own, without relying on faith in the Lord who is the the one at work in us. (Phil 2:13) Today let us hear once again the great call to faith and love, and let us confidently trust that the Lord will supply all that we need to do the good deeds He commands.