Every day, we need to go to our quiet place...

Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:

October 24, A.D. 2008

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:

Ephesians 4:1-6
Psalm 24:1-2, 3-4ab, 5-6
Luke 12:54-59

A reflection on today's Scripture:

Where I live and where many of you do, the autumn winds and rain strip the leaves from the trees. The colors are suddenly gone and even the dead brown is gone. Just bare trees. A sign of the seasons. A priest friend and I used to laugh about signs of the fall where we live -- the changing leaves, the smell of wood smoke and the annual Bishop's Fund Appeal!

Yes! We know exactly of what Jesus speaks. (see Luke 12:54-59) There are signs. For the people of Israel, the sign He speaks of is clouds forming out on the sea and moving rapidly landward. And the south wind was hot. Yes, we know these signs. How dull we are to other signs within ourselves, of infidelity, avarice, greed and many others.

The first group of signs is easy to recognize. They swirl about us. Does not the heavenly Father make the rain fall on the good and the bad? But, the second set, it is within us. As Jesus cautions, these are the sins that come forth from each of us.

The signs of the hot wind and the heavy rains require action. Why are we so slow to act when the signs of inward corruption might be discerned? Why is there hesitancy to believe in what we have learned?

On the other hand, there is something new and fresh and bright to embrace in Jesus and the promise of the Holy Spirit. It rises above death and promises life. It forgives and renews.

How so? Judge what is right, Jesus advises. Form your conscience. That is, build on the rock and not the shifting sands of this time or any time that tinkers with the moral truth and the assured ways that are not always easy but are certain paths, well-trod roads with Christ, on His Way, sharing His easy yoke.

Do you give your moral thinking over to what He talks about -- the judges that are the secular system? Yes, we are to respect the civil government. But legal is not always right. Right will lead us to be just and contributing as leaven, salt and light. It is obvious that many people measure their morality by only the measure of whether it is legal or illegal, rather than a much richer and deeper law, love of God and neighbor, a law of justice and mercy.

What can make the difference for us? St. Paul proposes to the Ephesians the notion of a fundamental unity with God, in and through Christ, with His Body, the Church and the Holy Spirit. Start there. How do I measure up as a builder of unity, in my life with the Lord, with the use of the gifts of the Spirit and an unfailing love for the Church? Where am I consciously seeking this grace to live in the manner worthy of the call I have received? I live it by these marks, or these signs, of humility, gentleness, patience, forbearance, love and striving to preserve unity.

Very challenging! Bit by bit, though, I can be a sign not of approaching gloom and negativity, or criticism and disunity, but of unction and encouragement, of support and hope. Nothing dead on the branch, I willingly let the Father prune it.

- Rev. Stephen H. Gratto |
email: smartins (at) frontiernet (dot) net

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

St. Anthony Mary Claret, bishop

Lives of the saints:

Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:


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