I received a letter from a wealthy Brazilian man. He assured me that he had lost his faith – not just his faith in God but his faith in humanity as well. He was fed up with his situation and everything around him. He only thought about suicide.
One day, walking on a busy street downtown, he saw a television set in a store window. The programme was about our Home for the Dying in Calcutta, and it showed our Sisters taking care of the sick and the dying.
The man confessed that when he saw that, he felt the urge to kneel and pray, after many years of not ever kneeling or praying.
From that day on, he recovered his faith in God and in humanity, and he was convinced that God still loves him.
– taken from “Mother Teresa In Her Own Words” by Jose Luis Gonzalez-Balado
Integrity belongs to the Lord our God; to us the look of shame we wear today, to us, the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem, to our kings and princes, our priests, our prophets, as to our ancestors, because we have sinned in the sight of the Lord, have disobeyed him, and have not listened to the voice of the Lord our God telling us to follow his commandments which the Lord had ordained for us. From the day when the Lord brought our ancestors out of the land of Egypt until today we have been disobedient to the Lord our God, we have been disloyal, refusing to listen to his voice. And so the disasters, and the curse which the Lord pronounced through his servant Moses the day he brought our fathers out of Egypt to give us a land where milk and honey flow, have seized on us, disasters we experience today. Despite all the words of those prophets whom he sent us, we have not listened to the voice of the Lord our God, but, each following the dictates of his evil heart, we have taken to serving alien gods, and doing what is displeasing to the Lord our God.
Jesus said to his disciples: “Alas for you, Chorazin! Alas for you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. And still, it will not go as hard with Tyre and Sidon at the Judgement as with you. And as for you, Capernaum, did you want to be exalted high as heaven? You shall be thrown down to hell.
“Anyone who listens to you listens to me; anyone who rejects you rejects me, and those who reject me reject the one who sent me.”
A married man said something interesting to me last night, much to the consternation of his wife who was present. He said, “I can go out there tonight, sleep with another woman, and come right back home, and my wife is obliged to love me as a wife. That’s what it says in the marital vows.”
Of course our first reaction to such a statement would be indignation. How could a husband say such a thing? How could a man expect something like that from his wife? It is simply wrong, we would say. But it’s true. It is in the marital vows. But how can this be done? How can such adultery be accepted in marriage?
It can only be accepted when we remember that marriage is a sacrament, and this means that marriage is meant to reflect God’s love for his people. That means that his people can go and worship other gods, and come back to God, and God is expected to continue loving his people as their God. And we read it repeatedly in the Old Testament that God forgives his adulterous people Israel over and over again, despite how much it hurts him.
Every time that we sin, that we worship another god – be it money, power, influence, fame, sex, pleasure, or even ourselves – we are committing adultery in our relationship with God. And yet, God is always calling us back to him, asking us to repent and showers us with mercy and forgiveness. God also asks us to forgive others when they hurt us.
Gives new meaning to the commandment, “Love one another as I have loved you”, doesn’t it?
Dear Lord, fill our hearts with the love that you have for us, and help us to forgive the people that have hurt us in our lives. Amen.
Give Thanks to the Lord for: Always being ready to forgive us.
Sat, 6 Oct – Baruch 4:5-12, 27-29; Luke 10:17-24; Memorial for St. Bruno, priest, hermit, religious founder
Sun, 7 Oct – Hebrews 1:2-3, 2:2-4; 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14; Luke 17:5-10; Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
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Disclaimer: The reflections expressed in this e-mail are the writer’s own. They may not necessarily reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless we should all be able to learn something from it.