Memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul, Priest
Friday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
“Turn, turn, turn!” was a song made famous by The Byrds, yet based on the words of today’s reading from Ecclesiastes about how everything has its own season. The author of Scripture writes that God “has made everything appropriate to its time” or proper season. How would you characterize the current season of your life with God? Wherever you are, you might consider the next line, that the Lord “has put the timeless in their hearts.” So, in the midst of the turning of seasons, a stable center remains.
Thursday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
God wins. Therein lies a central message of the Bible. The world is not stuck in a cosmic tug-of-war between God and the devil, unsure of who will come out victorious. Instead, God’s Son has entered into our existence in order to set it aright. How do we need the assurance of God’s victory in our hearts? In what concrete ways is Jesus “on the move,” seeking to redeem and sanctify us this day?
Wednesday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, Priest
St. Ignatius spoke of God as his constant Teacher. “Treat me as a school boy,” he would pray after his conversion. The psalmist today also humbly prays, “Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands.” When in your life has God revealed how to live according to His Heart?
Monday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
“For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible,” Jesus promises us today. How are we to interpret such a saying of our Lord? I’m not sure, but it seems to me that we are meant to be aware of this: truth will be made manifest. Christ is the One who reveals the truth of our existence and our world. The Father has put His Son–the Light of the World–upon the proverbial “lampstand,” in order “that those who enter may see the light.”
In the rush for power, pleasure, and prestige, we often forget or obscure the truth. However, Jesus tells us that the truth is out there. The truth will be made known. And we can abide in God, who is Truth. Then the meaning of our lives will be illuminated and we can be one “who thinks the truth in his heart.” Where do we need the Lumen Christi, the Light of Christ, to shine and overcome any darkness now?
Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Our Gospel calls attention to the sovereign generosity of God. The landowner in Jesus’ parable gives equal wages to the workers, regardless of when they began their labors. To the chagrin of those who commenced much earlier, the landowner asks strikingly, “Are you envious because I am generous?” How might we also need to surrender a similarly envious, possessive servant-mentality?
The radical self-gift of God represents a scandal of Christianity. God freely gives his love and grace to all those who will cooperate with his plan of redemption. We are not measured according to weights and balances and then given what we “deserve.” Indeed, we deserve nothing. Yet that does not keep God from relentlessly lavishing us with his goodness. Today, let us re-discover the glorious abundance that God offers.
Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary
“Blessed they who dwell in your house!” exults the psalmist today, saying further, “They go from strength to strength.” There is a definite strength that comes with abiding in God. I have heard it said that with God, mountains begin to look like molehills. Yet without God, even molehills look like mountains.
Today is also the feast of St. Joachim and St. Anne, the parents of the Blessed Mother. Raising Mary as their little daughter must have been a sublime joy for them. Who is Mary for us? What do we feel in our heart for her? Where do we need her to be close to us? In my own experience, the presence of Mary reminds me of God’s presence. With our Blessed Mother beside us, let us talk to her about the mountain and molehills of our existence, so that we can climb them with God.
Feast of Saint James, Apostle
I recall a dark period of my life, when I sought to serve God yet felt that I was failing. A priest pointed me to today’s psalm that promises, “Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.” He said that he had found this true at a certain point in his life, when he was facing certain sadness and confusion. At the time, it was almost impossible for me to imagine how I would “reap rejoicing.” Yet some time later I came across the same psalm and realized that I too could affirm its truth.
St. Ignatius has wise words for anyone who is in spiritual desolation, a state of decreased faith, hope, and love. He urges a desolate person to call to mind what will come again: consolation. That is to say, the person will once again experience a state of increased faith, hope, and love. In effect, St. Ignatius is saying that those who “sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.” This is a hopeful teaching that can make a huge difference. It can help us stay faithful to God in times of desolation. Are you, or someone you know, experiencing any desolation? What would it look like to trust that you or they will “reap rejoicing”?
Thursday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
When we are young and in love with somebody or something, we are usually zealous, generous, and devoted. Often that fire cools and becomes but an ember, or dies out completely. In the first reading, God tells his people, “I remember the devotion of your youth.” Here the implication is that God’s people have lost their love for him. Consider how that affects His Heart.
At the same time, the fire of God’s love for us is always blazing in his Heart. He desires the covenant with his people to be fulfilled faithfully and mutually. When faced with our infidelity to our Maker and Redeemer, all we can exclaim are the words of the psalmist, “How precious is your mercy, O God!” When specifically have we witnessed God’s faithfulness to us? It is important to have touchstones of this relationship to turn to, remember, and treasure. When you recognize these moments, the Lord’s words ring true: “…blessed are your eyes, because they see.”