Prophets have always had a tough row to hoe. Their words, often unwelcome, are used against them to persecute and even kill them. Such was the fate of the Old Testament prophets, and Jeremiah is a great example of this. Jesus endured opposition from sinners, and did not turn back from a shameful death in order to rise to a glorious new life. The ultimate prophet, Jesus sought to warn the people of his time and ours of the divisions that his words would cause, showing himself to be the prophet of all time. We all need to look at our divisions and dilemmas in light of Jesus’ teachings and warnings, and seek to understand all that he has proclaimed and taught about what will happen if we fail to listen.
Faith and hope are closely united in today's readings. The Israelites knew when the Passover was coming, and so were not in fear, but had faith and courage, "putting into effect with one accord the divine institution." In this we can see a foretelling of the Eucharist that we celebrate according to Christ's command, "Do this in memory of me."
We see that Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and Jacob died in faith, although they did not see fulfillment of the promise. We live in hope that our faith will be fulfilled every time we celebrate this sacrament. We too are not to be afraid, but to have hope that ourfaith will be fulfilled in the coming of Christ.
A jar of honey lasts practically forever. The oldest jar of honey ever discovered was over five thousand years old. Honey is quite different from market-fresh produce, then; because most fruits and vegetables last only a few days, we treat them carefully. At this time of summer, we rush to find recipes for cherries and cucumbers so we won’t waste a single one. We wouldn’t feel that same urgency about honey.
In our own way, we are as delightful and fragile as ripe produce. Today’s readings urge us not to spoil, but to make good use of our limited time onearth. Ecclesiastes reminds us that because God provides for us now and always, we can manage our daily affairs without anxiety. Saint Paul encouragesthe Colossians to keep thoughts of heaven in everything they do, and Jesus himself asks us to treasure not earthly wealth, but God alone.
There's a lot of traveling, delivering, and visiting going on in our readings today. In Genesis Abraham cares for the needs of three mysterious travelers. The psalm responds, celebrating the kind of righteousness that Abraham practices. Then, in his letter to the Colossians, Saint Paul describes his own ministry as almost like a delivery service: he, God's steward, brings the word of God to their community. Finally, Luke's Gospel shares the well-known story of Mary and Martha, and the different ways they welcome Jesus into their home. Amid all this coming and going, we are invited to pay attention to the ways we tend to the needs of others. Each of us can ask, How am I present to God and others in my life?
There's a different pace to a summer Sunday, especially on those days when we dream of air conditioning and wave any available paper to stir the air. Yet we persist in gathering, even with so many breaks from the usual routines. We distance ourselves not only from routines, but from schedules and familiar well-worn paths. These are playful days and contemplative days. We see long-lost friends and visit almost-forgotten places.READ MORE
The Old Testament reading from Deuteronomy praises God for inscribing the commandments in our very bodies. God’s law is not distant or foreign, but a natural part of us. In his letter to the Colossians, Saint Paul echoes Moses, praising God for becoming one of us. The truly human, flesh-and-blood Jesus reminds us that God always wants to be recognizable and familiar to us. Jesus, who is also truly God, wants to be on intimate terms with each of us.
God’s passionate desire to be known by us is almost too wonderful to take in. Luke’s Gospel helps us understand how to respond. The Good Samaritan parable provides practical advice for those who believe in God’s intimate love for them and want to share that love with others.
Today’s readings celebrate God’s providence. No matter how wonderful (or heartbreaking) our relationships are, God always provides for us. No one cares for us the way God does.
Isaiah delights us with a deeply intimate image of God caring for us “as a mother comforts her child.” The prophet describes us not as the usual “children of God,” but as “babies.” We should not resist this image, but rejoice in it. Trusting in God’s care, we can all let down our guard and rest like infants in the lap of our mother.READ MORE