Father David's Reflection for Friday of Week Twenty-Seven (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial Psalm declares an enduring fact: “The Lord will judge the world with justice” (Psalm 9). In Joel 1:13 to 2:2 the “day of the Lord” does not sound like a day to look forward to! “It comes as ruin from the Almighty… a day of darkness and of gloom.” But it is in fact a day of piercing light: “The Lord will judge the world with justice.” It is the false light of this world, the light of distorted cultures, attitudes and values, that will be revealed as darkness. In the Lord’s “judgment” (the root meaning is “separation”), all will see, as Malachi proclaimed yesterday, “the distinction between the just and the wicked.” As in the famous judgment scene of Matthew 25: 31-46, “When t

Father David's Reflection for Thursday of Week Twenty-Seven (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial Psalm makes a flat statement: “Happy are they who hope in the Lord” (Psalm 1). Malachi 3: 13-20 tells us we have an either-or choice: to base our hope on what we see, or on what God says. And the key to it is our time-frame. At almost any moment in history it seems to us that “the proud are blessed” and that “evildoers prosper.” We see the rich and powerful breaking laws with arrogance and getting away with it. This is true of nations (markedly our own) as well as of individuals. But God says: You shall see the difference between the righteous and the wicked…. The day is coming… when all the proud and evildoers will be stubble… For you who fear my name, there will arise the

Father David's Reflection for Wednesday of Week Twenty-Seven (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial Psalm proclaims, “Lord, you are tender and full of love” (Psalm 86). In Jonah 4: 1-11 Jonah is angry because God did not destroy Nineveh. He was thinking about that one city in Iraq the way we once thought about the whole country: how evil and dangerous it was; what a threat it was to us and to our prosperous society. Many were angry because we did not destroy Iraq after the Gulf War. Many voted to destroy it later so that we might feel safe. God reminded Jonah there were in Nineveh “more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot distinguish their right hand from their left” — presumably infants. But Jonah still wanted the city destroyed. About a month after the

Father David's Reflection for Tuesday of Week Twenty-Seven (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial Psalm invites us to recognize that we always need to change things in our lives and society: “If you, O Lord, laid bare our guilt, who could endure it?” (Psalm 130). In Jonah 3:1-10, when the people heard Jonah’s proclamation, they believed him. But more than that, they expressed it in action. They made immediate changes in their lives: they began to fast and to wear clothes that said they were doing penance — which means examining their lives, turning to God with willingness to change. And the king of Nineveh ordered that the people should go beyond these symbolic expressions of metanoia (a “change of mind“) and make substantial changes in social policies and practices: cha

Father David's Reflection for Monday of Week Twenty-Seven (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial is Jonah’s prayer of thanksgiving: “You will rescue my life from the pit, O Lord” (Jonah 2: 2- 8). Jonah 1:1 to 2:11 shows us a man who, though a prophet, did not have the spirit of love, and did not want to do God’s work in God’s way. To Jonah the people of Nineveh were the enemy; he wanted God to destroy them. When sent to call them to conversion he fled from God. That Jonah had to die — not physically, but as all of us die in Baptism: by being incorporated into the death of Jesus on the cross, going down into the grave with him and rising in him to live a new life as a “new creation” (2Corinthians 5:17 and Galatians 6:15). That is what happened symbolically when Jonah was

Father David's Reflection for Sunday of Week Twenty-Seven (Ordinary Time)

Look, Listen and Act Inventory What do I think it means to be a “good Christian”? Is it enough to do all the Church tells us to do? And is that just keeping the Commandments and rules of the Church? Or does it include seeking personal knowledge of the mind and heart of God through reading Scripture? Does it include living out our baptismal consecration and commitment to continue the mission of Jesus as Prophet, Priest and King? Input The Entrance Antiphon proclaims that God created a world of order: “O Lord, you have given everything its place in the world.” But when it continues, “and no one can make it otherwise,” it is talking only about the physical universe: “For it is your creation, th

Father David's Reflection for Saturday of Week Twenty-Six (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial Psalm offers hope to all who know their need: “The Lord listens to the poor” (Psalm 69). Baruch 4: 5-29 gives us hope even when our sins have brought disaster on us. Our hope is based, not on our behavior, but on God’s love and mercy. But we need to ask him for help: “Fear not, my children. Call out to God!” Prayer is an acknowledgement, both of our need and of God’s “steadfast love.” We need to be explicitly conscious of both. We also need to start changing our ways. “As your hearts have been disposed to stray from God, turn now ten times the more to seek him.” To “convert,” or “turn” is to change direction. We should not be discouraged if it takes us a while to change our

Father David's Reflection for Friday of Week Twenty-Six (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial Psalm voices life-giving hope: “For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us” (Psalm 79). The restoration of Judaism in Jerusalem really began in Babylon, when the exiled Jews were spurred by the prophets to repentance, which means “a change of mind.” The gift of the prophets, as we see in Baruch 1:15-22, was first to identify the cause of what the people were suffering; then to offer hope, based on their own intimate knowledge of God’s “steadfast love” and mercy; and on the basis of this to call them to repentance. Baruch calls the people to admit that they brought all their evils on themselves because “we have been disobedient to the Lord, our God, and only too ready to

Father David's Reflection for Thursday of Week Twenty-Six (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial Psalm is a foundation for living: “The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart” (Psalm 19). In Nehemiah 8: 1-12 the foundation of the new Jewish nation was laid. The layman Zerubbabel, with Haggai and Zechariah, had rebuilt the temple. Nehemiah, another layman, rebuilt the walls. Finally, the priest-scribe Ezra got the people to accept the Torah (God’s Law) as the constitution of the restored community. These men were all leaders. Each used his particular talents to bring a restored Jewish society into being. The temple spoke of God’s grandeur and his presence among the people (Psalm 65:4). The walls spoke of security and peace (Psalm 122:7). And observance of the law pro

Father David's Reflection for Wednesday of Week Twenty-Six (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial Psalm pledges us to remember God’s work with love in order to continue it: “Let my tongue be silenced, if I ever forget you!” (Psalm 137). Nehemiah 2: 1-8 shows us a Jew who could not forget what Jerusalem was like when the people were faithful to the covenant. He was the butler of King Artaxerxes, who, noticing he was sad, asked him about it. Nehemiah told him it was because Jerusalem was in ruins. So the king and sent him to Judah as governor to rebuild the walls. We should notice that God did not speak to Nehemiah in any extraordinary way; just through the movements of his heart. This seems to be true of all the major players in the reconstruction of Jerusalem: Haggai and

Father David's Reflection for Tuesday of Week Twenty-Six (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial declares simply: “God is with us” (Zechariah 8:23; Psalm 87). Zechariah 8: 20-23 describes how, when God restores Jerusalem, ten people from every nation on earth will “take hold of every Jew by the edge of his garment and say, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’” For people to be drawn to the Church, they have to perceive that God is truly with this community. And how will they perceive this? Not just — or even primarily — by what they see and hear in church. Or if it is what they experience in church, it will be their experience of the congregation, of the evident faith, joy, enthusiasm, and appreciation for God that surrounds them when they worsh

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