July 5, 2008
Saturday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Matthew 9: 14-17
The disciples of John approached Jesus and said, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast much, but your disciples do not fast?" Jesus answered them, "Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth, for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse. People do not put new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved."
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are present within me. Let me feel your presence in my heart and soul. I want to live this day close to you and see everything through the prism of faith. I want to put my trust and confidence in you. You will grant me all the graces I need today. All I have to do is ask. I want to love you with all my heart, especially in charity, giving myself to all I meet today so that I can communicate your love to them. Mary, accompany me in this meditation and intercede for me, so that God will grant me what I need to be a better follower of Christ and an apostle of his Kingdom.
Petition: Lord, teach me your new commandment of love.
1. Old Gives Way to New History shows us the inexorable progress of time, the new replacing the old. Over the centuries man has developed new ideas, new technology, new ways of doing things. Our quality of life has improved. We live longer, healthier lives and in better living conditions than our ancestors. This progress is also present in the realm of faith. In the Old Testament, God progressively revealed more things to his chosen people, until he sent his Son to reveal the fullness of truth. But even after that, the Holy Spirit has remained with us in the Church to deepen our understanding of what has been revealed in Christ and to lead us along the path of holiness. Do we appreciate and follow his inspirations?
2. External Becomes Internal By the time of Jesus, the Jewish people had many external practices by which they fulfilled their obligations to God. Among these practices was fasting. John the Baptist’s disciples were scandalized that Jesus’ disciples did not fast and follow other prescriptions of the Law. But Christ always taught that it wasn’t the external practices that make one a good person. It is rather what is in the heart. God doesn’t want us to say all our daily prayers faithfully and then judge our brothers and sisters or be unforgiving with them. What is inside makes a person clean spiritually. Do I externally fulfill my obligations as a Catholic, but internally neglect God’s commandments and the inspirations of the Holy Spirit?
3. A New Commandment Jesus did not come to abolish the Old Testament Law of the Ten Commandments. He came to build on it. The Old Testament was the old wineskins, and Christ didn’t want to break them. But there was a new wine that he wished to give his followers. In the fifth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus preaches the Sermon on the Mount. The parallel with Moses is clear. Moses went up the mountain to receive the commandments from God and deliver them to the people. Jesus, who is God, preaches from the top of the mount and gives a new law of love that goes beyond the Old Testament moral prescriptions. His followers must love not only their neighbors, but their enemies as well.
Conversation with Christ: Lord, show me how to love my enemies just as you did. Teach me how to live my Christianity in spirit and not just externally. I don’t want to follow you superficially. I know that as a Christian I am called to live a life of sanctity. The only thing that can stop me from being holy is my own selfishness and lack of generosity. Help me to give myself to those around me through charity. Teach me how to forgive others. Purify my thoughts so that I will never think ill of anyone. Let my mind be consumed with ways in which I can serve those around me.
Resolution: I will do three acts of charity today.
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