This blog sets out images and ideas about God, the Bible, and the Christian life received during prayer and meditation. Please feel free to use them for sermons, teaching, or any other non-profit Christian ministry activity. Glory to God in the highest!
Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and Iwillgive you rest.29Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and youwillfind rest for your souls.30Yes, my yoke is easyand my burden light.'
“Come” = δεῦτε or deute= come hither, come here, come: followed by an imperative; come after me
“shoulder” = αἴρω or airō= to take upon oneself and carry what has been raised, to bear
“yoke” (v.29) and “yoke” (v. 30) = ζυγός or zygos= laws imposed on one *** the commands of Christ
“gentle” = πραΰς or praÿs= that disposition of spirit in which we accept [God’s] dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting * * * the opposite to self-assertiveness and self-interest. It stems from trust in God's goodness and control over the situation.
Key: What we are told to do What we are told not to do What we are promised
18My child, from your earliest youth choose instruction, and till your hair is white youwillkeep finding wisdom.
19Like ploughman and sower, cultivate herand wait for her fine harvest, for in tilling her youwilltoil a little while, but very soon youwillbeeating her crops.
20How very harsh she is to the undisciplined! The senseless does not stay with her for long:21shewillweigh as heavily on the senseless as a touchstone and such apersonwilllose notimein throwing her off;22forWisdomis true to her name, she is not accessible to many.
23Listen, my child, and take my advice, do not reject my counsel:24put your feet into her fetters, and your neck into her collar;25offer your shoulder to her burden, do not be impatient of her bonds;26court her with all your soul, and with all your might keep in her ways;27searchfor her, track her down: shewillreveal herself; once you hold her, do not let her go.
28For in the end youwillfind rest in herand shewilltake theformof joyfor you:29her fetters youwillfind a mighty defense, her collars, a precious necklace.
30Her yokewillbea golden ornament, and her bonds be purple ribbons;31youwillwear her like a robe of honor, youwillput her on like a crown of joy.
32If you wish it, my child, you can be taught; apply yourself, and youwillbecome intelligent.
33If you love listening, youwilllearn, if you pay attention, youwillbecome wise.
34Attend the gathering of elders;if there is a wisemanthere, attach yourself to him.
35Listen willingly to any discourse coming from God, do not let wise proverbs escape you.
36If you see amanof understanding, visit him early, let your feet wear out his doorstep.
37Reflect on the injunctions of the Lord, busy yourself at all times with his commandments. Hewillstrengthen your mind, and thewisdomyou desirewillbe granted you.
The Lord GOD opens my ear that I may hear; and I have not rebelled, have not turned back.I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting.
The Lord GOD is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame. He is near who upholds my right;if anyone wishes to oppose me, let us appear together. Who disputes my right? Let that man confront me. See, the Lord GOD is my help; who will prove me wrong?
R. (9) I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living. I love the LORD because he has heard my voice in supplication, because he has inclined his ear to me the day I called. R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living. The cords of death encompassed me; the snares of the netherworld seized upon me; I fell into distress and sorrow, and I called upon the name of the LORD, "O LORD, save my life!" R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living. Gracious is the LORD and just; yes, our God is merciful. The LORD keeps the little ones; I was brought low, andhe saved me. R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living. For he has freed my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.I shall walk before the Lord in the land of the living. R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well, " but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Indeed someone might say, "You have faith and I have works." Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.
Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that I am?"
They said in reply, "John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets."
And he asked them, "But who do you say that I am?"
Peter said to him in reply, "You are the Christ."
Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.
He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. He spoke this openly.
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do."
He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it."
1.Faith is not a passive matter, not a spectator sport. It is more than receiving, but involves actively giving. (Second reading, Gospel).
2.We are called to do the things God instructs, even if they are hard, even if they are not what we would choose on our own. (Gospel, First reading).
3.We can trust that what God calls us to do will be vindicated, will ultimately succeed, even if we do not understand how that can/will happen. (First reading, Gospel).
4.God helps us as we do these things. (first reading, Psalm).
5.How do we get through that, how do we get that done?
A.We must be all in, we must humbly surrender ourselves to God. (First reading, Alleluia verse, Gospel).
B.We must not be dismayed when adversity occurs. (Psalm).
C.We must pray, actively petitioning for God’s help. (Psalm).
6.Sirach 2lays out many of the principles addressed in today’s readings.
Thus says the LORD: Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing. Streams will burst forth in the desert, and rivers in the steppe. The burning sands will become pools, and the thirsty ground, springs of water.
R. (1b) Praise the Lord, my soul! The God of Jacob keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets captives free. R. Praise the Lord, my soul! The LORD gives sight to the blind; the LORD raises up those who were bowed down. The LORD loves the just; the LORD protects strangers. R. Praise the Lord, my soul! The fatherless and the widow the LORD sustains, but the way of the wicked he thwarts. The LORD shall reign forever; your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia. R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
My brothers and sisters, show no partiality as you adhere to the faithin our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. For if a man with gold rings and fine clothes comes into your assembly, and a poor person in shabby clothes also comes in, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Sit here, please,” while you say to the poor one, “Stand there, ” or “Sit at my feet, ” have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil designs?
Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him?
Again Jesus left the district of Tyre and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, into the district of the Decapolis. And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him.
He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!”— that is, “Be opened!” — And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly.
He ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it. They were exceedingly astonished and they said, “He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
1.Every one of today’s readings detail God’s great goodness. That is the predominate theme today.
2.Today’s principal readings were written at or about times when those leading God’s people were not good. The sorry state of leadership in Isaiah’s time is well described in Isaiah 1:10-28. The corruption of the religious leaders during Jesus’ incarnation is a noted throughout the gospels.
3.Those deep flaws did not change the good that God worked then and do not change God’s fundamental goodness today. Think back on the times you experienced that goodness. Those things happened even while some of God’s clergy were committing or covering up the terrible acts we have heard so much about.
4. We should stay focused on that fundamental goodness even as we work through how to deal with those terrible things.
5. How do we do that, how do we remain focused on God’s goodness during these difficult times? Several things come to mind:
A.As the first reading tells us “[b]e strong, fear not.” God delivered His people from previous times of dysfunction, He will do it again. DO NOT GIVE UP ON GOD BECAUSE OF SOME LEADERS’ CORRUPTION. Isaiah didn’t and the folks described in today’s gospel didn’t. We shouldn’t either.
B.As today’s psalm tells us, praise the good things God does. There are multitudes of them. Praising God for them, especially on specific manifestations of His goodness, will give you peace.
C.Focus on God himself. Bring your concerns and needs directly to Him, just as the folks in today’s gospel brought the deaf/mute man directly to Jesus. Prayer and the scriptures are always available to us, and adoration and the mass usually are too.
D.Intentionally seek to be instruments of God’s goodness. The folks described in today’s gospel provide great examples: they sought to make God’s goodness available by what they themselves could do. We can do the same thing by doubling down on corporal and spiritual acts of mercy. Those acts may not directly address the harm some corrupt leaders have done, but they will help manifest God’s overwhelming goodness in other ways.