Saint for the day: Alphonsus Liguori (September 27, 1696 – August 1, 1787)
Exodus 33:7-11;34:5b-9, 28 ; Psalm 103 : Matthew 13:36-43
Today the Church offers us the continuing story of the Exodus – and the up and down, in and out journey of the Israelites – and a continuation of the section from Matthews Gospel on the parables and the meaning of the wheat and weeds. Then, there’s also the celebration of the memorial of St. Alphonsus Liguori one of the early followers of St. Ignatius, founder of the Society of Jesus – also more commonly called “The Jesuits.”
Yesterday, because of the Sunday celebration we didn’t hear the episode of Moses destroying the tablets because of the Israelites fascination with worshipping the Golden Calf. Now they are given a second chance. I have always been attracted to this story of the Exodus since it so mirrors our own journeys that vacillate between heartfelt following of God and the inevitable wandering into our own fancies.
The Gospel gives us a repeat of an explanation of the parable of the wheat and weeds which we’ve heard before. Remember, the word “explanation” means to “flatten out.” And that’s like trying to explain a joke: if you have to explain it you’ve failed in making it a joke!
Charles Read (don’t know who he is) has said, “Sow an act and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny.” God sows good seed into our lives and we are left with the responsibility to nurture that in a way that it will yield a fruitful harvest. The Israelites were given every opportunity to know God’s presence in their lives yet they failed to follow through time after time. Still, God did not abandon them and was patient with their fickleness. This should be an encouragement to all of us: God never gives up on us. In the Gospels Jesus tells us, “Come unto me, all who are wearied and over burdened and I will give you rest. For my yoke is easy and my burden light.”
He doesn’t say, “I will put my bit in your mouth and whip you into subjection” but rather I will be teamed up with you and carry half the burden with you and usually this means he will carry more than his share of our worries. And God, who knows us better than we ourselves knows exactly how much we can bare and never gives us more than we can handle. Say “Amen!”