July 17, 2017 – Monday in the 15th of the Church Year

Saint for the day: Francis Solano (March 10, 1549 – July 17, 1610)

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Exodus 1:8 – 14, 22  –  Psalm 124  –  Matthew 10:34 – 11:1

“Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Alleluia, alleluia.” (Today’s Gospel Acclamation)

The readings for the Liturgy today continue with the Genesis story of the Israelites getting taken into slavery in Egypt. In the Gospel we continue to hear Jesus’ words to his disciples about what it means to follow him. These two themes we can put together on this feast of St. Francis of Solano and, perhaps, find some strain of consolation along the way.

The very use of the term, “along the way,” should give us insight into what it means to follow the Lord, whether it is in a time of difficulty (the Israelites working in hard labor) or a time of peace. I once heard a preacher say, “if you’re not living in some kind of tension you better check out what’s going on in your life.” That’s why the TVangelists are so disturbing since they tend to preach a “Gospel of Prosperity” without mentioning the cross in any sense. Jesus’ words, “come to me all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest. My yoke is easy and my burden light” are so important for us to hear and live. We just hear this phrase often enough in our daily Masses so we should know what Jesus means when he gives us his “yoke.” That means that we are never alone in our journey – even if we are momentarily side-tracked or under some difficult situation. His ‘yoke’ is tailor-made to fit us snugly so that – teamed up with Him – we are never overburdened.

This can easily be applied to those of us in ‘Religious Life’ or for any of us on the journey to the kingdom. If we go back to the Israelites story in Egypt we must remember that, even though they were freed from slavery it wasn’t enough for them to just leave Egypt. They also had to enter the Promised Land. Our journey is never finished until we cross over and pass through the Pearly Gates. As St. Catherine says, “It’s heaven all the way to Heaven.” Amen.

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