July 1, 2016 – Friday in the 13th Week of the Church Yea

Saint for the day: Junipero Serra (1713-1784)

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Amos 8:4-6, 9-12     –     Psalm 119     –     Matthew 9:9-13

   “Blessed are they who observe his decrees, who seek him with all their heart.” (Psalm 119:2)

It isn’t always easy for us to understand some of these Old Testament scriptures since we are coming from a different perspective. However, I think it wouldn’t be too hard to see some of the situations in almost any part of our world, today, where things are in turmoil and peace and livelihood are difficult. In so many ways the saying, “… there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) still rings true. Weather conditions are changing; the ice cap is melting. Draughts and crop failures are making life difficult for many. For the others: monsoons and hurricanes! Sounds kind of horrible! Then, once again, our Responsorial Psalm brings us back with a sense of hope. Read through it again but change the sense of it to make it more personal: “when/how do I observe his decrees? Do I seek him with all my heart? Do I get my nourishment from the Word of God?”

Today’s Holy Gospel, with the call of Matthew, once again, brings us back to the reality that we are all sinners who are called to leave whatever it is we are doing to follow Jesus. It’s also important for us to see that Jesus didn’t tell Matthew to get his life in order or spend 40 days in the Temple. He just said, “Follow me!” Too many of us think that we have to get our lives in order before we actually accept the invitation from Jesus. That tells us that the following of Jesus is like “on-the-job-training.” He takes us where we’re at and leads us to something better. The beginning of the “Morning Offering” prayer is key: “Oh, Jesus, … I offer thee all my prayers, works, joys, and sorrows of this day …” Maybe that’s why the Church gives us these Old Testament readings to remind us that our life’s stories are more or less the same stories of people who struggle to follow God’s ways all throughout history. We’re all going to have to wander around in one desert or another and our faithfulness bounces in and out of God’s presence. If we look at the “call” of any of the characters in the entire bible we can see how God works. He knows us through and through and never gives up on us as we make our stumbling way to the Kingdom. He’ll always keep asking us, “Do you love me as a friend? Once. Twice. But eventually he asks us, “Do you love me in the ‘lay-down-your-life-for me’ way? And, even if we can only say, “You know I love you as a friend” He’ll still tell us, “Come, follow me” hinting that we’ll work out the rest “On the Way!”

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