Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
August 23 A..D. 2009
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Joshua 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b
Psalm 34:2-3, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21
Ephesians 5:21-32 or 5:2a, 25-32
A reflection on today's Scripture:
Often, when we're faced with hard decisions, we'll seek the advice of an "authority figure." It's usually a wise idea to do so, but sometimes, we just want to shift the burden to someone else. "What shall I do?" we ask, hoping the other person will make up our minds for us. If the answer comes back, "Use your own judgment," then we're right back where we were, faced with the personal responsibility for our choice.
That's exactly what Jesus does in today's Gospel. Many of the Lord's followers had left Him because of His teaching that He Himself is the Bread of Life. If they were willing to eat of His flesh and drink of His blood, they would live forever. Otherwise, they would die. Many of His followers thought the message was too good to be true. So they "walked with him no longer."
Jesus turns to the Twelve and says, "Do you also want to leave?" It's as though He had added, "It's your decision. I'm not going to make your minds up for you!" Fortunately for them and for the future Church, they have enough faith to reply, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. For we have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God." For us today, we need to renew often our decision to firmly believe, and to act on the truths that Jesus teaches us.
The second reading from Ephesians should capture the attention of all married couples, since it is so often misunderstood. It's the famous passage about wives being "subordinate" to their husbands. Women feel that this statement has led to much "wife beating" and worse.
It all hinges on the word "subordinate." We need to read the whole passage to understand St. Paul properly. He starts off by telling us that Christians ought to be "subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ." That means loving and caring for one another as Christ loves us. It means being attentive to each other's gifts. Furthermore, St. Paul tells husbands to love their wives "as their own bodies -- for no one hates one's own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it."
In a nutshell, marriage is all about sacrificing for one another, listening carefully to each other, and telling the truth to one another. All lack of respect, all physical, verbal, emotional or spiritual abuse is to be avoided. And that's really God's idea of a perfect marriage, a true romance!
~ Msgr. Paul Whitmore
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Sunday, August 23, 2009
Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lives of the saints:
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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