Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
August 18, A.D. 2006
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Ezekiel 16:1-15, 60, 63 or 59-63
Isaiah 12:2-3, 4-6
A brief reflection on today's Scripture passages:
“Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.”
The reading from Ezekiel is an allegory describing how Israel came into being. God found her a despised and neglected infant, and in His loving mercy adopted, cleansed, clothed and made her beautiful. She, however, was so taken with her loveliness that she became a harlot to all who approached her, adopting their ways and becoming unfaithful to God's love and truth. Today's psalm restores our confidence in Israel (and ourselves), for though she (we) transgress, God remains nearby, ready to rescue His adopted children from errors and transform her (us) anew in His goodness and holiness.
We learn in today's Gospel that within Judaism there were different schools of thought on such matters as divorce. The Pharisees were ever trying to trap Jesus into saying something they could use against Him. Here they tried to make Him take sides with the Hillel school who had a relaxed attitude toward divorce or the stricter Shammi group, although both were highly regarded. The Pharisees cited Moses permitting divorce; to this Jesus replied that Moses did so only because of the people's sin-hardened hearts. A moving wheel that squeaks loudly and constantly will surely receive oil to silence it.
Jesus foils the Pharisees by ignoring their choices and returning instead to God's ordained plan for marriage recorded in Genesis. It is a lifetime union between a man and a woman who then become one flesh to participate in God's creative power and bring forth new life. This sacred bond has been negated by humanity's repeated and unrepented sin; were it not for our ongoing faithlessness to God's word, all couples would have the ability to live with one another in an everlasting and unconditional love, just as God loves us. Christ calls us to share His cross and die with Him to our sins, but instead we scream and run at the slightest twinge of pain, and prefer remaining mired in a swamp of comfortable selfishness.
O Redeemer Christ, teach us to see one another as You see us, a beautiful work in progress but as yet incomplete. May we then extend to others Your mercy and compassion. Amen.
- Marie Bocko, OCDS
(mlbocko at earthlink dot net)
Friday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
St. Jane Frances de Chantal, religious
Lives of the saints:
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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