Gospel Meditations

GOSPEL MEDITATION FOR
21 AUGUST, 2017, MONDAY, 20th WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
BY REV FR ERBIN FERNANDEZ & CSC TEAM
COPYRIGHTS RESERVED.

“COME, FOLLOW ME” (MATTHEW 19:21)

GOSPEL: MATTHEW 19:16-22

http://www.universalis.com/20170821/mass.htm

(I sense Jesus wanting to meet me. I prayerfully call upon the Holy Spirit to be present. I prayerfully read today’s gospel passage slowly once through. I sit in silence for a few minutes with the gospel text. I now pray through the following meditation. I allow the Holy Spirit to lead me, pausing wherever I need to.)

In today’s Gospel, we see the rich young man encountering Jesus and asking a question, which he later discovers that the answer was not something that he was ready to receive or accept. One could possibly interpret this young man’s question as an attempt to raise the bar higher for himself; or that there was certain air of arrogance in his approach with Jesus such that it seemed as if the man had been so much of a good disciple that he must have thought that there was going to be very little left for him to do before he could reach the “path of perfection”. However, we see that no matter the approach of the young man, Jesus acknowledged his question and responded to the man’s desire for eternal life with the same invitation He issued to everyone – “Come, follow me” (Matthew 19:21). Jesus saw past the “good works” the man had done and instead challenged him to a deeper way of life, one that would mean being free from attachments or things that would cause the young man to be in place whereby he could not grow in his trust of God’s providence over his life.

Being rich and having many material goods meant that the rich young man probably did not have very much room or space left for God to show up and move powerfully in his life. Hence, we see Jesus desiring to make a home with the young man and leading him to instead store up “treasures in heaven” and sharing his earthly riches to the poor. However, instead of responding with joy and zeal, we see the young man turning away sad, unable to response positively to this invitation as there was an immense struggle with the fact that “he was a man of great wealth” (Matthew 19:22).

For some of us, our forms of wealth may come from many different things, not just in the monetary or material sense. Our wealth could come from the relationships in our lives, which we are very dependent on; or the structures we put in place to keep ourselves from risky or uncertain situations in life; or it could be a high functioning capacity to do well in our endeavors. And what Jesus is saying

is not so much that these are bad, but these things are only good for us, in so far as it leads us to the Kingdom of God, which is a place of freedom. A place of freedom whereby if the Lord were to ask us to give up these things for His sake, so that He can teach us how to love more purely, trust more wholeheartedly, we would be ready to drop our bags and follow after Him without hesitation. Are there areas in my life, which is coming in the way of me giving myself fully to the service of Christ?

The Lord issues the same invitation to us this day – “Come, follow me”. What will be our response? Will we choose to turn away like the rich young man? Or will we choose to follow in the footsteps of the disciples and many saints, who for the sake of Jesus, counted all that they had known as loss and pursued Jesus wholeheartedly and fully for the rest of their lives.

Action:Today I will examine my heart to see if there are attachments in my life that are holding me back from a deeper relationship with God and my neighbour and surrender them to the Lord.

(I journal: What phrase touched me today? What is Jesus inviting me to live today? I ask for a specific grace for today.)

GOSPEL MEDITATION FOR
20 AUGUST, 2017, SUNDAY, 20th WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
COPYRIGHTS RESERVED.

“O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” Matt 15:28

GOSPEL: Matt 15:21-28

http://www.universalis.com/20170820/mass.htm

(I sense Jesus wanting to meet me. I prayerfully call upon the Holy Spirit to be present. I prayerfully read today’s gospel passage slowly once through. I sit in silence for a few minutes with the gospel text. I now pray through the following meditation. I allow the Holy Spirit to lead me, pausing wherever I need to.)

The heart of God can be moved. Jesus had a particular mission to accomplish. The parameters of this mission did not include Canaanites who were ancestral enemies of the Israelites. But the woman had what Christ’s heart yearns for: Love, faith and humility.

She was seeking a miracle not for herself but for her beloved daughter and at her own expense. She was screaming in public after the Jewish rabbi to get his attention. It is hard to imagine how she had come to believe in him. Perhaps her initial faith was quite small. She calls him “son of David” which could be a mere political title. Contact with him increased her faith and at last she came kneeling at his feet as to divinity.

The woman was not angry with God for sending this trial. She did not come to Jesus furiously demanding justice. She accepted the trial and recognised that the miracle would be a gift. This enabled her to take the rebuff and come right back with another petition to the Lord. Love, faith and humility are the secret ingredients for prayer that moves the heart of God – even a prayer as simple as “Lord, help me”.

How different this woman is from the Pharisees. How it must have gladdened Jesus’ heart to find someone so humble, someone so trusting in him, after those long and fruitless discussions with the Pharisees.
Lord Jesus, teach me to pray from my heart. Show me how to let your grace enlighten my mind and enliven my will. You always hear prayers. Why don’t I pray more? I don’t deserve your mercy and grace, but I do need them. I know you want to give them to me.

Action: Today I recommit myself to my marriage vows or if I am single I will discern carefully my calling of such a state of life

(I journal: What phrase touched me today? What is Jesus inviting me to live today? I ask for a specific grace for today.)