February 26, 2017 – 8th Sunday of the Church Year

Saint for the day: Maria Bertilla Boscardin (October 6, 1888 – October 20, 1922)

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Isaiah 49:14-15    –    Psalm 62    –    1 Corinthians 4:1-5    –    Matthew 6:24-34

“The word of God is living and effective; discerning reflections and thoughts of the heart.” (Today’s ‘Alleluia Verse’ before reading the Holy Gospel.)

 I promised to give you the words to the “Guardian Angel Prayer” for those who couldn’t remember it or never even heard of it before. So, you’ll find it at the bottom of today’s Reflection.

I love today’s first Scripture from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah and it’s one of my favorites even though they chose to leave out that last – for me, most convincing – line: “I have carved you on the palm of my hand!”(Isaiah 49:16)

 Remember: this is God speaking directly to you. This is the God who created all that is and keeps it all in good, working order despite what we creatures do to thwart His designs. If we want to imagine God going about His creative work, shaping everything with His almighty hands we can’t forget that He also shaped the first beings out of the clay of the earth. And that act, in some way when it came to us, left an impression of us on the very hands that created us. You might even think that we have the same fingerprints as God.

And of course, the Responsorial Psalm picks up on this reminding us to “Rest in God alone, my soul.” Sometimes I think we miss some of the beauty of this part of our Liturgy because we’re too worried about remembering our response line. And we’re not helped by the fact that our beloved liturgists change the wording of our response just slightly enough to throw us off. That’s why I often tell you to go back and read through the response psalm – slowly – in order to let it sink in. There’s usually a wealth of imagery that often connects in with sayings of Jesus in the Gospels.

In the second scripture reading, St. Paul reminds us that we are “servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1st Cur 4:1) I don’t think it says anywhere that we are to be judges of anyone but ourselves. If you just take those two words and let them roll around in your mind: servants and stewards. What and how are we to serve and what are we to watch over or keep safe? Don’t go on until you have thought about this some. Our entire Christian life revolves around these two admonitions: serving and watching over! How many Gospel admonitions did you come up with on the “servant” theme? What examples did you come up with on the “steward” theme?

Our Liturgy of the Word ends with that familiar Gospel verse (sing it if you want) “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things will be given unto you besides.” Alleluia! Amen!

Now, here are the words to the “Guardian Angel Prayer:” “Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whomst God’s love commits thee here, every this day be at my side to light, to guard, to rule and guide.”

 

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