Immersed in Christ Monday 7/31/17

Saint Ignatius of Loyola: Monday, Week Seventeen The Responsorial (Psalm 106) invites us: “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good.” Always. Exodus 32: 15-34 shows the need we have for something visible and present that we can deal with to experience our relationship (interaction) with God and be assured of God’s relationship (interaction) with us. An invisible, intangible God just seems too vague, too far-away to keep us confident that he is “with us.” While Moses was in camp, he fulfilled this need. In a sense he was an “idol” for the people: not that they worshipped him, but that his visible, physical presence made them feel safe. When he delayed on the mountain, they said to Aaron, “Make

Immersed in Christ: Sunday 7/30/17

THE SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY OF YEAR A Seek, See and Show the Face of God Questions to Ask Yourself If God offered to give you anything you desire, what would you choose? Take a minute. Choose. Done? Now ask yourself if what you chose is what you are experiencing (or showing) the most desire for in your life now. Ideas to Consider The Entrance Antiphon promises “a home, power and strength” to God’s people. It invites us to ask what kind of power we would be at home with; what we would like strength to do. In the Opening Prayer we respond by asking for wisdom: to “see and cherish the gifts that surround us” — creation, life, all that God touches — and to “use wisely the blessings” God has given to

Immersed in Christ: Saturday 7/29/17

Saturday, Week Sixteen The Responsorial (Psalm 50) paints a picture of happy life on earth. It urges us: “Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.” But in the context of a community that recognizes God’s creation as “perfect in beauty,” his covenant as the way of truth and justice, and his fidelity to those who “call upon him in time of distress.” Exodus 24: 3-8 is the account of the great moment when the Jews, as a whole People, formally entered into their covenant with God. First Moses built an altar of stones to symbolize the presence of God. He assembled the whole people around it. In front of each tribe he built a pillar of stones, twelve to represent the twelve tribes. He offered bulls in s

Immersed in Christ: Friday 7/28/17

Friday, Week Sixteen The Responsorial (Psalm 19) reminds us: “Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.” Exodus 20: 1-17 shows God ministering to us. Ministry is always communication in some form, and it is always, however indirectly, the communication of God’s truth, God’s love, God’s life to people. Here God is communicating to his People the “operator’s manual” for the human nature he gave us. The Ten Commandments are the “instructions on the bottle,” the manufacturer’s guide for living human life in the way that lets us get the most out of it. The word “Commandments” might throw us off. We might assume, without thinking about it, that the Commandments are just some rules God arbitrar

Immersed in Christ: Thursday 7/27/16

Thursday, Week Sixteen The Responsorial (Daniel 3: 52-56) exhorts us to give God “glory and praise forever.” St. Augustine said, “We cannot love what we do not know.” So the level of our praise and love will be determined by the level of our knowledge of God: the more we know him, the more we will appreciate him. However, we can know what we do not see. In fact, if we only know what we see, that is superficial knowledge. We say, “Appearances deceive.” With God, we know that anything we can perceive with our senses, understand with our intellects or resonate to with our emotions will conceal as much as it reveals of his total, infinite Truth, Goodness and Being. So human beings throughout his

Immersed in Christ: Tuesday 7/25/17

Feast of St. James, Apostle This James is named “the Greater,” or “Big James,” either because he was older, taller or called by Jesus before “James the Less” (“Little James”). James and John were Zebedee’s sons. Jesus nicknamed them Boanerges, “Sons of Thunder.” They were chosen with Peter to witness the Transfiguration and Agony in the Garden. James, the first apostle to be martyred, was beheaded by Herod Agrippa c. 44 A.D. A tradition says he preached in Spain and that in the ninth century his body was taken from Jerusalem to Santiago de Compostella, one of the most popular pilgrimage shrines of Europe. [1] Their mother’s ambition for James and John in Matthew 20:20-28 sparked Jesus’ warni

Immersed in Christ: Monday 7/24/17

Monday, Week Sixteen The Responsorial Verse invites us, “Sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory” (Exodus 15:1). What is God’s glory? Where do we see it? The Hebrew word for glory, unlike ours, does not speak of fame, but of the actual value of someone. God’s “glory” is God himself revealing his power and holiness, the majesty and dynamism of his being. What reveals the glory of God to us? In Exodus 14: 5-18, when the people saw the Egyptians coming in pursuit, in their fright they thought God had betrayed them. And this is the temptation we all feel when pain is unbearable. Where is God? Why does he let this happen? For countless [Vietnam] veterans that same question remains unans

Immersed in Christ; Sunday 7/23/17

THE SIXTEENTH SUNDAY OF YEAR A Questions to Ask Yourself Do I ever get angry because people resist my efforts to help them, to minister to them? Do the apathy and resistance I see in people incline me to violence of word or action? How do I use whatever power I have? Ideas to Consider The liturgy today focuses our attention on God’s restraint. He does not use power against the slow and the sinful precisely because he has all power — and the infinite wisdom and love that make him (and him alone) able to use it well. The Entrance Antiphon establishes our relationship with God on the basis of his goodness to us: “God himself is my help. The Lord upholds my life…. I will praise your name for its

Immersed in Christ: Saturday 7/22/17

Saturday, Week Fifteen The Responsorial (Psalm 136) tells us: “His love is everlasting.” And every act of Christian ministry today says the same thing. In Exodus 12: 37-42 God shows his “steadfast love” by fulfilling his promise to Abram that his descendants would be brought home after four hundred years. The number “six hundred thousand” could be just a Semitic exaggeration common in Scripture, or the word for “thousand” (‘elep) can also mean “family,” which would bring the number down to about 6,000. The point, however, is not numbers but God’s fidelity. And this is what God told the Jews to celebrate annually in “a vigil to be kept for the LORD by all the Israelites throughout their gener

Immersed in Christ, Friday 7/21/17

Friday, Week Fifteen: View Today's Readings The Responsorial (Psalm 116) encourages us to celebrate God’s saving work: “I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.” Exodus 11: 10-14 presents us with the root source of everything God does to heal and save us. Before God delivered his people from the slavery of Egypt he had them sacrifice the “paschal lamb.” “Pasch” is the Hebrew for “Passover, and “paschal” means anything related to the feast of Passover, which celebrated the night the destroying angel “passed over” the houses marked with the blood of the lamb. The lamb was a preview of Jesus, the true Paschal Lamb, whose sacrifice on the cross delivered the human race

Immersed in Christ: Thursday 7/20/17

Thursday, Week Fifteen: View Today's Readings The Responsorial (Psalm 105) gives us a distinguishing characteristic of God: “The Lord remembers his covenant forever.” God never rejects us. The word “steadfast” appears 187 times in the Bible. In Exodus 3: 13-20 Moses asks how the Israelites will know that God has sent him to them. And the proof he asks for is the fundamental proof that accredits every true minister: “If they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” Authentic ministry is grounded in personal knowledge of God. If we are just the ministers of a “system” or a “religion,” no matter how good, but without personal — and preferably intimate — knowledge of God, who will

Immersed in Christ: Wednesday 7/19/17

Wednesday, Week Fifteen: View Today's Readings An enlightening comment on the Lord’s choice of Moses is in the Responsorial (Psalm 103): “The Lord is kind and merciful.” It should help us to accept our own call to minister. In Exodus 3: 1-12 God appeared to Moses in the flame of a burning bush. “And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.” Moses had a special reason to be afraid. He was out there in the desert because he had murdered an Egyptian (Exodus 2: 11-15). Nevertheless, God chose him to be the one through whom God would deliver his people. And on this same mountain (Horeb, also called Sinai) God would later give his Commandments and make his covenant with the people thr

Immersed in Christ: Tuesday 7/18/17

Tuesday, Week Fifteen: View Today's Readings The Responsorial (Psalm 69) calls us to remain aware that the only real answer to any of our needs is God: “Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.” In Exodus 2: 1-15 we see God saving Moses from physical death; first by putting him into a “basket” that floated — more precisely, a “chest,” which is the same Hebrew word used for Noah’s “ark” in Genesis 6:14. In Christian tradition Noah’s ark has become a symbol for the Church, in which we are saved. The name “Moses,” in Hebrew Mosheh, is like the Hebrew mashah, which means “to draw out.” In Christian tradition, we are actually saved by going down into the water of Baptism, as into death,

Immersed in Christ: Monday 7/17/17

Monday, Week Fifteen: View Today's Readings The Responsorial (Psalm 124) calls us to believe, in spite of all appearances: “Our help is in the name of the Lord.” In Exodus 1: 8-22 the descendants of Israel (Jacob) are given reason to doubt God’s care for them. “Joseph died, and all his brothers, and that whole generation…. Now a new king, who knew nothing of Joseph, came to power in Egypt.” And this king, noticing “how numerous and powerful the Israelite people are growing,” adopted a policy of semi-genocide, killing all male babies and reducing the living “to cruel slavery.” How much faith did it take for the Israelites to proclaim then, “Our help is in the name of the Lord”? With hindsight

Immersed in Christ: Sunday 7/16/17

THE FIFTEENTH SUNDAY OF YEAR A: View Today's Readings Questions to Ask Yourself Have you ever wondered why God’s words seem to have such a small effect on people? Why, after two thousand years of Christianity, is there still so much injustice and violence in the world? Where is the “reign of God”? Ideas to Consider The Entrance Antiphon celebrates the joy of seeing God’s glory: “In my justice I shall see your face, O Lord; when your glory appears, my joy will be full” (Psalm 16). But the Responsorial (Psalm 64) reminds us that the joy of seeing God’s glory is conditional on our being “good ground” receptive to his word: “The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.” In

Immersed in Christ: Saturday 7/15/17

July 15, 2017: Saturday, Week Fourteen The Responsorial (Psalm 105) declares: “Turn to the Lord in your need and you will live.” In Genesis 49:29 to 50:26 we see that what helps Joseph forgive his brothers is his awareness that God has used their sin against him to accomplish his purposes: “Even though you meant harm to me, God meant it for good, to achieve his present end, the survival of many people.” No matter what happens to us, we have to remember that what people do is never the last word. God is always in control. He does not want people to sin, and he does not want anyone to suffer. But as long as he respects people’s freedom, some will sin. And their sins will cause others to suffer

Immersed in Christ: Friday 7/14/17

Friday, Week Fourteen: View Today's Readings The Responsorial (Psalm 39) proclaims: “The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.” We need to remember this when our well-being seems to depend on or be threatened by what others are doing to us. Genesis 46: 1-30 shows us how God works in and through human history, including human sins, to realize and reveal his own designs. He used the sin against Joseph to move Israel to Egypt. This eventually led to the great event of the Exodus, which became the reference point for all subsequent Jewish life and history. But at the time of this telling no one involved had any inkling of that. Israel (Jacob) wanted to see his son alive and well before he d

Immersed in Christ: Thursday, 7/13/17

Thursday, Week Fourteen: View Today's Readings The Responsorial (Psalm 105) invites us to “Remember the marvels the Lord has done.” Two marvels that stand out in Genesis 44:18 to 45:5 are, first, that God draws good out of evil; and secondly, Joseph’s forgiveness of his brothers who sold him into slavery. Joseph told his brothers. “Do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.” But providing food for the Egyptians and his family was not the most life-giving thing Joseph did; his act of forgiveness was more life-giving than anything else, because forgiveness gives life to the spirit as well as to the body — for both the

Immersed in Christ: Wednesday 7/12/17

Wednesday, Week Fourteen: View Today's Readings The Responsorial (Psalm 33) calls us to trust God to provide for our needs: “Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.” God answers this prayer. But he does it through human ministers. Genesis 41:55 to 42:24 is the story of Joseph, sold by his brothers into slavery, who became governor of Egypt. When his brothers came to him for food during the famine, not knowing who he was, Joseph was able to minister to them because of his position of authority. But we should be on guard not to identify ministry with authority. When Jesus was asked to provide food in the desert, he first asked his disciples to find out what the people coul

Immersed in Christ: Tuesday 7/11/17

Tuesday, Week Fourteen: View Today's Readings The Responsorial (Psalm 17) gives us the fruit of engaging in ministry: “In my justice, I shall see your face, O Lord.” In trying to give Christ to others we grow in knowledge and love of him — and of ourselves. Genesis 32: 23-33 marks a turning point in Jacob’s life and mission. “The cunning Jacob becomes the divinely commissioned Israel, father of the chosen people and the special object of God’s protection.” Jacob relied on his wits. He had cheated his brother Esau out of his birthright by a ruse, and now he is about to meet Esau coming toward him with 400 men! Jacob sends his wives, children and possessions across the river and remains alone

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