for Sunday, August 18, 2013
The readings today are very strong: speak the truth of God and accept
whatever suffering comes! Speak the truth of God and know that you will
not always bring peace and joy. Speak the truth of God because God wants
us to live in truth and seek Him.
The first reading today is from the Book of Jeremiah the Prophet. His own
experiences show us what happens when a person tries to be true to what God
is saying and because of that attempt, preaches truths that are unpopular.
The Christian message today is unpopular. Nice feelings about one another
are popular. The hard work of committing oneself to another person in
marriage or committing oneself to a community through vows is not popular.
Jeremiah spoke the truth and no one wanted to protect him. If we
Christians speak the truth, the civil authorities no longer want to protect
us. The movement today in civil society is against the Gospel and against
any organized religious expression.
The second reading today is from the Letter to the Hebrews and puts the
experience of Jesus before us so that we can know how to live as followers
of Jesus: For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the
cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the
throne of God. Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners, in
order that you may not grow weary and lose heart.
This reading from the Letter to the Hebrews challenges us to be ready to
endure the cross every day and not be ashamed of suffering. We are invited
to see Jesus and then not grow weary and lose heart as we try to live the
Gospel in our lives.
The Gospel today is from Saint Luke. It also tells us that the Word of God
brings division and not peace. If our following of Jesus separates us from
others, that is simply the price that we must pay for trying to be
faithful. If our love for others invites ridicule, that is simply the
price that we must pay.
Over and over again we realize that this life is only a preparation for the
life to come. If we begin to make this life the center of our attention,
we will forget that there are eternal values that form us. Once we realize
that this life is a life that passes and never returns, we can begin to
form our lives according to the Gospel: seeking the things that are above
and being formed in values that will last forever.
My sisters and brothers, let us face life bravely and with joy. There are
ways to live that deepen our humanity and our love for one another. There
are also ways to live that lead to an eternal death. Let us choose wisely
and give thanks to the Lord.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Jeremiah 38.4-6, 8-10
Second Reading: Hebrews 12.1-4
Gospel: Luke 12.49-53
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: