Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
September 13 A..D. 2009
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Psalm 116:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
A reflection on today's Scripture:
There are many meanings to the phrase "comfort zone." For some people, their comfort zone is sitting in an easy chair with a good book. As a teenager, my mother was good at prying me out of my "comfort zone" with a gentle reminder that I was not a "star boarder" in our home.
Jesus applied a stronger "shock treatment" than that to the comfort zone of his apostles in this week's Gospel. After he had challenged them to confess that He was more than just a human teacher, one with divine authority, He then announced to them the sobering news that He would soon suffer a humiliating passion and death at the hands of His enemies. Ironically, it was Peter, who had just publicly proclaimed that He was the Son of God, who immediately rebuked Jesus for such defeatist talk. And Jesus said to Peter, "Get thee behind me, Satan!"
Do we modern-day disciples do any better at accepting a Messiah who calls Himself a "suffering servant"? How good are we at joining our own sufferings with Jesus' redeeming passion and death? It's all part of the "faith plus good works" that St. James speaks about in today's second reading. He insists that faith without loving works is dead. For centuries, battles have raged about "faith alone" or "faith and good works" being necessary for salvation. Of course, we cannot pull ourselves into heaven without the grace of God. However, common sense will confirm the truth of today's second reading. Faith without actions that flow from that faith is useless and hollow.
Have we given only the assent of our mind to the truths that Jesus proclaims? He wants far more than that. He wants the full assent of our hearts and wills. Since Jesus gave Himself completely to us even unto death, He will never rest content until we have given Him back our total selves. That means accepting the suffering that He asks of us, and joining that suffering to His own sacrifice for the redemption of the world. That is faith accompanied by works.
~ Msgr. Paul Whitmore
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Sunday, September 13, 2009
Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lives of the saints:
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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