Wednesday, July 27, 2016

If You Come Back

Thus the LORD answered me: If you come back and I take you back, in my presence you shall stand; If you utter what is precious and not what is worthless, you shall be my mouth. Then they will be the ones who turn to you, not you who turn to them. And I will make you toward this people a fortified wall of bronze. Though they fight against you, they shall not prevail, For I am with you, to save and rescue you—oracle of the LORD.  I will rescue you from the hand of the wicked, and ransom you from the power of the violent.  Jeremiah 15:19-21

Jesus said to his disciples: “The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.” Matthew 13:44-46

Meditation by Fr. James Martin, JS

This is what a martyr looks like.

Today Père Jacques Hamel was martyred in the town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, near Rouen, where St. Joan of Arc was martyred in 1431.

Père Hamel, age 85, was murdered by an ISIS followers, while he was celebrating Mass, as was St. Thomas of Becket and Blessed Oscar Romero. The story of this beloved priest is here:…/jacques-hamel-85-a-beloved-fren…

Like many martyrs, Père Hamel did not seek martyrdom or court death, but was simply carrying out his ministry among the People of God.
In such times, whether it is priests, brothers, sisters or lay men and women who are martyred, I always remember Tertullian, who said, "The oftener we are mown down by you, the more in number we grow; the blood of Christians is seed."

Tonight meditate on the mystery of martyrdom, pray for peace and justice, and pray for his eternal rest, though I believe he went immediately from the Eucharist in his church to the Eucharistic Feast in heaven.

Holy Martyr Père Hamel, pray for us.

Today’s Good News is among the shortest readings we have in the Liturgical Calendar.  Two verses make up the entire selection yet those two verses are both pearls of great price.

Yet I am left wondering are we more like the people Jesus refers to in the parable – or more like the complaining Jeremiah in the First Reading?  Instead of recognizing the pearl of great price or the treasure buried in a field, are we more likely to complain to the Lord about our situation?

Woe to me, mother, that you gave me birth!
a man of strife and contention to all the land!
I neither borrow nor lend,
yet all curse me.

Like Tevia in Fiddler on the Roof, we try to bargain with God to provide (more) for us than for others. 

Lord who made the lion and the lamb,
You decreed I should be what I am.
Would it spoil some vast eternal plan?
If I were a wealthy man.

The Lord will deliver upon that “covenant” that Mel Rigney wrote about yesterday.  However, the covenant is not a one-way street. We have a job to do, a mission to fulfill.  If we come back.  If we change the direction in which we are looking for happiness.  If we speak the Lords words.  If.  If.  If.  The Lord leaves the choice in our hands and minds.

What would you do to obtain a pearl of great price? 

These days, we are more likely to pursue a great deal on eBay, Amazon Prime Day or Black Friday.  We are more likely to try to score a great deal on a year-end sale of the old model cars. 

Why will we not do the same to build the Kingdom of God?  Would you sign up for text messages to track the wisdom in each daily reading? 

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Would you check back before the bidding deadline?  Would you make an offer hoping it will be accepted and the rest of the bidders would be taken out of the picture?  Would you bargain with the Lord like you try to bargain with the eBay sellers?

Are you prepared to outbid the others with your actions?  Don’t wait too long.  As the Lord says to Jeremiah, “If you come back AND IF I take you back…”  Let us not tempt the Lord to reject our homecoming if we dally too long. 

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