Deuteronomy 6: 4-13 “…’Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.’....”
Psalm 18: 2-3a, 3bc-4, 47 and 51 “…I love you, Lord, my strength...”
Matthew 17: 14-20 “…‘Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘ Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Today’s message in the readings hit home in a particular way. I felt like Moses pulled me aside and spoke to me in my generation, reminding me to keep God first. It was remarkable in another way, as I saw how little we change from one generation to the next. The message could so easily have been written to our generation as we live and move seemingly without stopping so much of the time. We need the encouragement to teach our children, and keep the thought in front of ourselves, on our wrists, or on our foreheads. The message was so practical and down to earth; I really felt like I could relate and apply it to my life today as I worry I’m supposed to fix the world I live in by myself.
Mk 9, 2-10
The transfiguration of Jesus is certainly an intriguing event for him and the three disciples who were privileged to be there that day and to experience the events that transpired. Jesus took Peter, James, and John, to a high mountain and “was transfigured before them,” is how Matthew puts it. The event is clarified a bit when it is added that his face “shone like the sun” and his clothes became “white as light.” Not only that, but Jesus is joined by Moses and Elijah who were “conversing” with him.
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.
Who do you say that I am?
Peter also had two answers to this question from Jesus. I think his first answer was inspired by a glimpse of God's glory in Jesus - "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!"
In the very next passage, however, Peter reveals his humanness. Jesus begins to tell his disciples of his impending suffering and death. Peter's response is one of fear, one that cannot see beyond an impossible, tragic situation. In effect, he is saying, "I believe that You are someone who can be broken and crushed by death. I do not believe You are bigger than death or that your Father is powerful or caring enough to bring you through this."
6. MISSION AND BEING SENT – Fraternity
Patroness of the month - Mary, Mother of good counsel, pray for us
The Annunciation begins Mary’s mission and Her being sent. From then on, Mary no longer belongs to Herself. Everything in Her, full of grace from the beginning, is now taken over by God. Mary, aware of the gift and the mystery that she carries within Herself, goes out to meet the other. Always open and ready to share, to give, to participate. The awareness of being sent makes one fit for the mission, and the mission blooms and bears fruit as it draws sap from the roots of the experience of being sent. The mystery of Mary is an invitation to sisterhood.
Intention of the month
Let us pray for unbelievers, so that, despite obstacles and dangers, filled with the light of the Holy Spirit, they may see the signs of God's goodness and the testimony of the good deeds of those people who believe, and joyfully find and confess faith in the one and true God, the Father of all people, and the way of salvation.
6. THE BRIM
"And they filled them to the brim."
The shore, the horizon, the border, the brim... Everything known so far. Behind them everything else, foreign unknown.
And we are still on our way. We bounce off the shore, we go to the horizon, we cross borders... we discover, we learn, we grow. Allowing ourselves to be filled "to the brim" with His grace allows us to engage in life even more. Filled, saturated
and nourished by the presence of the Lord, we can open ourselves to the unknown, to the other, to what is to come.
5. THE WATER
“Fill the jars with water”.
To abide when all around is darkness and meaninglessness. To believe when unbelief seems a closer, when unbelief seems a closer and more reliable support. To search for meaning at the bottom of the jars of one's own helplessness. Is it worth it?
Only if you trust the word. "Fill...!"
That's it. Every day anew, fill the lack and the emptiness. To carry the water of one's own humanity and to pour it into the jars of everyday life. And again, and again... And wait and believe that the Lord will change the water into what He needs to manifest Love.
To pour the water. To fill the heart. Maybe this way we become servants of the Gospel?
4. THE STONE
"...six stone water-jars were placed there, after the Jewish manner of purification, each holding two or three measures”.
The stone is safe. It suffices for itself. Closed, cold and stony.
The heart is dangerous. It is not enough for itself. Open, hot and pulsing.
Is it always able to love?
Only the tenderness of God can cleanse a stone. And it comes unexpectedly
and surprises with its effect. Love is to keep giving and offering a heart petrified by selfishness
and fearful heart and to receive a new "heart of flesh" touched with tenderness.
"God is greater than our heart," - wrote the apostle. "Two or three measures" is no measure for His love. To allow ourselves to be purified is to learn to love without measure.
Numbers 12:1-13; Matthew 14:22-36
I’ve always found it difficult to see the main message in today’s Gospel reading from Matthew 15, about Jesus walking on the water and inviting Peter to do the same. There is nothing in our human experience to suggest that walking on water is possible, so I find myself asking what else is being said here, looking for something to guide me in the more ongoing and everyday experiences of human life. This is because I can’t help but thinking that if I spend my life trying to walk on water, I will have really missed the point.
Numbers 11:4b-15; Matthew 14:13-21
The Israelites are roaming around the desert working their way to the Promised Land. They are learning to be dependent on God. First they grumble about water, and now they are grumbling about food. They weren't hungry, but they weren't satisfied. They had full stomachs, but they craved greater variety and "better" food than what the manna provided.
Were the Israelites intentionally ungrateful, unsatisfied, unwilling to accept the gift they received for what it was and not what they wanted it to be? Probably not. They were just human, reacting on a sensory level instead of on a spiritual level. They were overly concerned with the immediate and did not have enough concern for the bigger picture. They were so blinded by the desire to have better food that they forgot the price they paid for the food was the loss of their freedom!
The Gospel follows John’s account of the multiplying of the five loaves and two fish which we heard last week. The word spreads and though Jesus and his shipmates have sailed to the other side of the sea, those who had eaten their fill follow him. This can sound wonderful; he is gaining new followers. When they meet up with Jesus, he offers them their truth. They were following, but not in the same sense, as he desired. They came to see if he were handing out more bread or doing something else for their enjoyment. They failed to see the bread as ”Sign”, but merely as a crusty “thing”.
The Gospel for today’s liturgy sounds like the beginning or ending of a novel. There is some sleaze, some misuse of regal power and some righteous confrontation of power by truth. There is a death, some misidentification and a lot of kingly weakness in the face of apparent innocence. It sounds a little like Shakespeare’s tragedies all mixed together. There is no other scriptural account of John’s reminding Herod of the section from the eighteenth chapter of Leviticus which, in verse sixteen, states that no man can sexually take the wife of his own brother. This reminder of the Jewish law pleases Herod not at all, nor Herodias, the mother of the daughter who delighted Herod with her dancing. We do not know why she wants the head of John but perhaps she, herself, has also been challenged for her not living the customs and traditions of her Jewish faith.