Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
August 1 A..D. 2009
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Leviticus 25:1, 8-17
Psalm 67:2-3, 5, 7-8
A reflection on today's Scripture:
Do not deal unfairly . . . but stand in fear of your God." (Leviticus 25:17)
Leviticus consists mainly of laws conveyed to Moses and Aaron. It began with rules for the rituals and sacrifices to be performed by the Levite priests, then expanded to include everyone. They set standards of behavior in both the legal and personal sense that showed their intimate relationship with God.
Today's first reading describes a "Jubilee Year" to be celebrated throughout every 50th year, starting and ending on the Day of Atonement. It's purpose was to restore social and economic equity and to assure freedom to all by preventing the formation of "classes."
In part, the rules required returning acquired land to its original owners; freeing slaves; restoring captives to native lands; lifting debts with no charge of interest. In addition, fields were to be left uncultivated and animals relieved of their labors. God would enable this by providing large crops and stores of food to sustain the people until the next harvest.
There is no evidence that a "Jubilee Year" was ever celebrated. Conditions described in today's gospel describe a state far from "Jubilee" ideals. Herod, ruler over 1/4 of Israel, was power hungry and morally depraved.
Though interested in hearing John the Baptist's message, he was fearful of his starting a people's rebellion against him. When his "stepdaughter" performed a spectacular dance for Herod's guests, he foolishly promised to grant her any wish. Because the girl's mother had been publicly shamed by John for living in incest and adultery with Herod, she told her daughter to ask for John's head on a platter. To assert his power and "save face," he silenced one voice of truth; but in doing so, he also committed another act reaffirming his spiritual suicide.
O Father God,
origin and guide to everlasting goodness, keep us strong and safe in Your love; make us able to merit receiving Your treasure of eternal life with Christ.
~ Marie Bocko, OCDS
| email: mlbocko(at)twcny(dot)rr(dot)com
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Saturday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
St. Alphonsus Liguori, bishop and doctor of the Church
Lives of the saints:
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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