for Sunday, June 8, 2008
If you're lucky enough to be near a garden early in the morning, you'll understand today's first reading. The prophet Hosea talks about the dawn of the day, and the sun lighting the morning sky. If there's been a spring rain, the garden will be lush and green. The early morning clouds and dew quickly vanish.
These down-to-earth images describe both our God's life-giving presence, and our own human response. Where God brings certainty, truth and life, we so often respond with shallow piety, a religious fervor that's just talk, and superficial gestures, rather than a real sacrificial response of love.
Jesus is just as down-to-earth in the Gospel. In a scene that must have stunned those who witnessed it, he confronts Matthew the tax collector. Here was a man rejected by the so-called religious crowd, outcast because his profession was marked by collaboration with the Romans temptation to greed and selfishness.
Jesus offers Matthew a call to loving service. In his call to Matthew, Jesus brings forgiveness and echoes the prophet Hosea's message from God: "I desire mercy, not sacrifice." We hear these words at Sunday Mass a ritual action which can become superficial for us, if we do not make a loving response to what we've heard.
Readings of the day:
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: