Ezekiel 2:8—3:4 ; Matthew 18:1-5, 10, 12-14
"Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18
When I was about two, I was standing by my mother in a crowd of grown-ups who were talking loudly. I tugged her hand and supposedly said, “Mother, I think you had better hold me.” Like most children, I trusted my mom’s ability to protect me from danger, real or imagined. Asking her for help was the most natural thing imaginable – something many of us lose as we get older. It takes humility of the type that Jesus is talking about in today’s reading from Matthew to admit our dependence on God and others as children do so easily.
Today, as noted in the readings, honors Saint Lawrence, deacon and martyr. The history of Saint Lawrence is inspiring and affirming in our beliefs as Christians and Catholics – a remarkable man with remarkable faith and courage. The readings fill us with direction and hope encouraging us to open our hearts both to others and the Lord.
1 Kings 19:9,11-13; Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:22-33
Imagine that you are out at sea and a storm is blowing in, would you rather be on a large cargo ship or a small yacht? In contrast, picture yourself navigating through a series of obstacles. Which would you now prefer? It is the very stability of the cargo ship which makes it safer in a storm, but this stability makes it less easy to manoeuvre. With the yacht we have the opposite. Its manoeuvrability makes it less stable.
On July 31, the Community of the Procura General bade farewell to Mrs. Rita Ponziani, who after 42 years of faithful service, completed her work with us and began her well-deserved retirement. We had Holy Mass in the Procura Chapel which was presided over by Fr. Jaroslaw Rochowiak, a Salesian, with participation of the Staff, family members and friends of Mrs. Rita, and the Sisters. Sr. Magdalena Pinto, the Superior, together with her Sisters had prepared a beautiful liturgy and subsequent small celebration.
Today’s Gospel shows the human nature of Jesus – an aspect that is often challenging for us humans. In the Gospel, Jesus demonstrates the most human of traits, a lack of patience. The disciples attempted to cure the boy but failed. In modern parlance we’d say that the boy’s father went "over their heads" and took the boy to Jesus directly. Jesus then expresses impatience with the earthly world even going so far as to wonder how long he has to "endure" it. Then when the disciples ask him what went wrong he says with uncommon bluntness that they lacked the faith to cure the child.
What am I to make of these images of power, violence, noise, brutality and death? Am I to be awed by the irresistible power of God? I am, but these readings don't make me feel good about it. Even parts of the Gospel seem harsh. I must go through a passage of pain and suffering to be with Jesus.
Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14; 2 Peter 1:16-19; Matthew 17:1-9
On July 31, 2020, at the age of 85, in Warsaw, died Fr. Dr. Jan Korycki, a Pallottine. He will remain in our memory as an untiring apostle, working in Rome and in Sardenia. With his posture of simplicity and involvement in God's works, he resembled St. Vincent Pallotti. In Rome, he was known to all ecclesiastical and religious circles, especially as a retreat master, confessor and spiritual director. He established and for many years he was the president of Polish Group of Representatives in the General Councils of the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
Mt 15: 21-28
"Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters."
"Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us"
Let us never lose trust in the patience and mercy of God! Let us think too of the two disciples on the way to Emmaus: their sad faces, their barren journey, their despair. But Jesus does not abandon them: he walks beside them, and not only that! Patiently he explains the Scriptures which spoke of him, and he stays to share a meal with them (Lk 24,13f.). This is God’s way of doing things: he is not impatient like us, who often want everything all at once, even in our dealings with other people. God is patient with us because he loves us, and those who love are able to understand, to hope, to inspire confidence; they do not give up, they do not burn bridges, they are able to forgive. Let us remember this in our lives as Christians: God always waits for us, even when we have left him behind! He is never far from us, and if we return to him, he is ready to embrace us.
The Church honors a French parish priest of the early 19th Century today in its liturgical cycle. St. John Vianney is one of very few diocesan priests who have been canonized. His early life was characterized by poverty and an impoverished education. He did not have adequate command of Latin to enter the seminary but by virtue of very hard and persistent work with a tutor (and assuredly God’s grace) was able to gain enough Latin to enter seminary and complete studies in preparation for the priesthood. His ministry in the French country towns was initially met with indifference or scorn, but the same persistence in his prayer and gentle proclamation of the truth in the Sacrament of Reconciliation began to attract people from miles around to seek him out for spiritual help. He had a particular gift for assisting people to become open to God’s grace and mercy, by recognizing the seriousness of their sins.