24 Jul – Thursday in the Sixteenth week in Ordinary Time
St. Sharbel Makhluf, priest
Jeremiah 2:1-3. 7-8. 12-13
The Lord says this:
I remember the affection of your youth,
the love of your bridal days:
you followed me through the wilderness,
through a land unsown.
Israel was sacred to the Lord,
the first-fruits of his harvest;
anyone who ate of this had to pay for it,
misfortune came to them –
it is the Lord who speaks.
to enjoy its produce and good things;
but no sooner had you entered than you defiled my land,
and made my heritage detestable.
The priests have never asked, “Where is the Lord?”
Those who administer the Law have no knowledge of me.
The shepherds have rebelled against me;
the prophets have prophesied in the name of Baal,
following things with no power in them.
stand stupefied, stand utterly appalled
– it is the Lord who speaks.
Since my people have committed a double crime:
they have abandoned me,
the fountain of living water,
only to dig cisterns for themselves,
that hold no water.
The disciples went up to Jesus and asked, ‘Why do you talk to them in parables?’ ‘Because’ he replied, ‘the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven are revealed to you, but they are not revealed to them. For anyone who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough; but from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. The reason I talk to them in parables is that they look without seeing and listen without hearing or understanding. So in their case this prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled:
see and see again, but not perceive.
For the heart of this nation has grown coarse,
their ears are dull of hearing, and they have shut their eyes,
for fear they should see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their heart,
and be converted
and be healed by me.
‘But happy are your eyes because they see, your ears because they hear! I tell you solemnly, many prophets and holy men longed to see what you see, and never saw it; to hear what you hear, and never heard it.’
The reason I talk to them in parables is that they look without seeing and listen without hearing or understanding.
My church sacristan once commented to me that his boys were becoming deaf because of the continued presence of earphones blasting loud music into their ears. It seems to him that having an ear does not mean that one can hear. Prophet Jeremiah and our Lord Jesus Christ certainly faced the same problems during their time except it is their spiritual ears that refused to listen.
God promises us a life of happiness and eternal joy as long as we obey his commandments and understand that His ways require us to make sacrifices on this life of ours. However, we fear giving up the temporary pleasures of this world because that would mean a total change in lifestyle. It is the fear of the unknown that makes us afraid to abandon our former ways of life. This made Prophet Jeremiah proclaim that the Israelites have “abandoned the fountain of living water, only to dig leaky cisterns that hold no water”.
Our sinful ways of life are similar to these leaky cisterns that are unable to replicate the wholesome love of God. God offers us the source of life in the Holy Eucharist where we can partake of the Body and Blood of Christ that will sustain us in our journey against the temptations of this world. Let us abandon these old ways of sin in order to live in the life of salvation that God has freely given to us.
(Today’s reflection by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Lord, we pray for the courage to break free from the old ways of sin.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the people who remind us that Christian living is all about sacrifice.
25 Jul, Fri – Jeremiah 3:14-17 Matthew 13:18-23
26 Jul, Sat – Jeremiah 7:1-11 Matthew 13:24-30
27 Jul, Sun – 1 Kings 3:5-12 Romans 8:28-230, Matthew 13:44-52- Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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