Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
July 4, A.D. 2008
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Amos 8:4-6, 9-12
Psalm 119:2, 10, 20, 30, 40, 131
A reflection on today's Scripture:
Today is Independence Day in the United States of America. Facing up to personal sin is hard enough. Facing up to evils and failures in a society seems particularly hard. Our civic pride and sense of citizenship contribute to this as does the heroic involvement of the country, citizens in the World Wars and other efforts for justice and freedom.
Nevertheless, the Prophet Amos speaks words that can stir up in us both repentance and a renewed desire to promote the good of our nation and its people, through the common good, and as a leader in the world. Amos declares the requirement of justice and mercy in his preaching. In the third chapter he speaks of the people brought to freedom, favored by God among all other nations of the earth.
God's covenant is far deeper and significant than any bond one can observe in the natural order. In this passage, he leads the hearer to recognize the widespread injustice in the land that destroys the poor. The cheating becomes stealing. The stealing becomes the source of physical harm to human life. God expects justice. It is part of the covenant. God expects mercy. It is God's great desire: a people whose gracious acts reveal God.
Psalm 119 provides a way out! This Psalm meditates on the law of the Lord. The ordinances of God's law, its precepts and decrees guide the faithful. The heart is stirred up to obey, as an act of fidelity! To follow the law of God contributes to justice in society.
In the Gospel, Jesus calls Matthew to this new way of life. From sin, cheating, greed and stealing, he is led by Jesus to be an instrument by which sinners are introduced to Jesus and the mercy of God.
How is it that each of us is a Matthew? Called; the object of mercy; to be a sign to other sinners; to be a source of mercy.
This deep awareness of justice and mercy, which God has revealed as central to the covenant and which we know in the person of Jesus, is what the Church prays for today: for this people, our country, blessed with freedom and much bounty, to renew again and again. In the prayer over the gifts, the Church prays for the Eucharist to strengthen us, to make the good news of Christ known and the country dedicated to God's service. That would be justice and mercy. In the Prayer after Communion it prays for the faithful to recognize the vision in the Eucharist of the unity and joy of heaven. This longing would help the faithful to work for unity and joy on earth.
It seems the scriptural word invites us to receive the admonition of the prophet Amos for repentance and reform where injustice prevails, to recognize how I find myself in Matthew and repenting become an effective instrument of mercy, and through the covenant bond to be motivated to work for the good of a nation for which we are grateful.
- Rev. Stephen H. Gratto |
email: smartins (at) frontiernet (dot) net
Friday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
St. Elizabeth of Portugal
Lives of the saints:
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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