Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
January 29 A.D. 2009
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Psalm 24:1-2, 3-4ab, 5-6
A reflection on today's Scripture:
Occasionally a penitent will tell me about staying away from Mass. "I prefer a private faith," or "I do not like to be around people too much," or "it (the way Mass is celebrated) has too much going on." While these persons may have a true belief in Christ and a strong individual faith, it is not characterized by behaviors important to the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews.
This letter teaches us that "we should not stay away from our assembly, as is the custom of some, but encourage one another and this all the more as you see the day drawing near." The word "assembly" is a word for liturgical gathering. Once, God had Israel assemble at the Temple. Now, we assemble with Christ, the Great High Priest in the celebration of Mass. We should not stay away from Mass. Doing it on purpose is a serious sin. It is contrary to the teaching of the scriptures.
There is more. When we go to Mass, we are able to encourage others. Being there is one form of encouragement. It helps us all know I am not alone in my Catholic way of life. Encouragement is given by cordial greetings and prayerful concern. It is extended by lingering a bit after Mass, for instance, or occasionally going to the social gatherings held after Mass. We can extend the Mass to others, shut-ins, homebound, or family and friends in the hospital, by bringing a bulletin, or reading the Sunday scripture and a meditation on it, along with our prayer and conversation.
Today's lesson speaks of hope. The Eucharistic celebration is filled with hope and, as it can awaken hope in us, we are able to be a light to others. Jesus promises in the gospel a greater abundance to those who hear and act. When our good deeds are withering and our sense of membership in the Church, the Body of Christ, is waning, we risk losing it all, "from the one who has not, even what he has, will be taken away." This lesson is told in a different way at the Last Supper in John's gospel when Jesus speaks of the Father cutting away the branches that bear no fruit.
These lessons today lead us back to the Eucharist. The fruit and grace of the Eucharist are to be brought into the world.
- Rev. Stephen H. Gratto
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Thursday, January 29, 2009
Thursday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
Lives of the saints:
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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