THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for October 26th, 2017
Thursday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Liturgical texts here
IT seems to me that the world is moving faster and faster. Everything is like a whirlwind, spinning and whipping and tossing the soul about like a leaf in a hurricane. What is strange is to hear young people say they feel this too, that time is speeding up. Well, the worst danger in this present Storm is that we not only lose our peace, but let The Winds of Change blow out the flame of faith altogether. By this, I do not mean belief in God so much as one’s love and desire for Him. They are the engine and transmission that move the soul toward authentic joy. If we are not on fire for God, then where are we going?
No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. (Luke 16:13)
But who thinks about this in our generation? Who deliberately sets out each day to love God “with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30 The degree to which we don’t, is the degree to which unhappiness will creep into the heart and darken the soul. Sadness and restlessness are not because we suffer, but because our love is misplaced. The one whose heart is on fire for God is joyful even in suffering because they have come to love and trust Him in everything.
As St. Paul once said to Timothy, we need to “stir into flame the gift of God.” 2 Tim 1:6 Just as the coals of a wood stove need to be stirred each morning and a new log set on the ashes, so too each day, we need to stir the coals of desire and blow them into a flame of love for God. This is called prayer. Prayer is the act of stirring our love up for God, so long as we do it with the heart. If you are tired, weary, confused, sad, restless, guilt-ridden and such, then quickly hasten to prayer. Begin to speak to Him from the heart; pray the words that are on your mind, or in front of you, or in the Liturgy, and do it with the heart. It often doesn’t take much for His peace to seep again into the soul, strength to return, and the flame of love to be rekindled. God meets our desire with His grace.
One thing alone is necessary: that the sinner set ajar the door of his heart, be it ever so little, to let in a ray of God’s merciful grace, and then God will do the rest. —Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, Jesus to St. Faustina, n. 1507
There is no such thing as giving God half your heart. This is why so many Christians are “out of balance”: they are not all in for God! They still belong to themselves rather than to Him. As St. Paul wrote:
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit. (Gal 5:24-25)
“So now,” says Paul in today’s first reading, “present [the parts of your bodies] as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.” Do you want to know who is “blessed”, that is, happy? The Psalmist says, it is not the one who lingers in the way of sinners, but the one who is all in for God. The who one…
…delights in the law of the LORD and meditates on his law day and night. He is like a tree planted near running water, that yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade. (Today’s Psalm)
“Day and night”… Does this sound radical, like a fundamentalist? If you live like this, not only will you bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit in your life—“love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22-23)—but you will indeed create division around you as Jesus said in today’s Gospel.
I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! (Today’s Gospel)
It is this fire and the light of God’s love that creates division, because the light exposes sin, and the fire convicts and sears the conscience. Yes, if they persecuted Jesus, they will persecute you. cf. John 15:20 But the light of truth also scatters fear and liberates while the fire warms the cold and comforts the weak. How this world needs to be set ablaze with the fire of Divine Love!
It begins in your heart; it continues in prayer. The Mother of God is the Lord’s match-stick in this hour, sent for over three decades now to teach us how to be all in for Jesus and set afire for Him. The answer, she says, is prayer.
I am calling you to be prayer in this time of grace. You all have problems, afflictions, sufferings and lack of peace. May saints be models to you and an encouragement for holiness; God will be near you and you will be renewed in seeking through your personal conversion. Faith will be hope to you, and joy will begin to reign in your hearts. —Our Lady of Medjugorje to Marija, October 25th, 2017; the first seven apparitions have now been given a vote of authenticity from the Vatican’s Commission
Ours is a time of continual movement which often leads to restlessness, with the risk of “doing for the sake of doing”. We must resist this temptation by trying “to be” before trying “to do”. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Novo Millenio Ineunte, n. 15
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