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  • Writer's pictureImmersed in Christ

Let Us Be Your Face, O Lord

by Fr. David M. Knight


July 11, 2024 

Thursday of the Fourteen Week of Ordinary Time 

Memorial of Saint Benedict, Abbot 

Lectionary 386  

Hos 11:1-4, 8e-9/Mt 10:7-15

 

 Today we celebrate St. Benedict, so be sure to read a little about him in the “Bonus content” after the reflection for today! 

 

Hosea 11:3-9: The New American Bible Revised Edition introduction to Hosea says, “The eleventh chapter of Hosea is one of the summits of Old Testament theology; God's love for his people has never been expressed more tenderly.” 

 

First God presents himself as Our Father... in heaven. “When Israel was a child I loved him; out of Egypt I called my son.” Jesus completed the revelation of God loving us to life as Father. 

 

As disciples we are “taught by God” as fathers teach their children: “It was I who taught Ephraim to walk.” Jesus taught us to pray “Hallowed be thy Name!” in recognition that God is revealing it. 

 

I drew them with human cords, with bands of love; I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his cheeks; Yet, though I stooped to feed my child, they did not know that I was their healer. 

 

We rejected God’s kingship, returning to the slavery of sin: “He shall return to the land of Egypt, and Assyria shall be his king.” From exile we learn to pray with new longing, “Thy Kingdom come!” 

 

Instead of saying “Thy will be done!” however, in surrender to God, we chose to do our own will. This is destruction: “Because they refused to repent, their own counsels shall devour them.” 

 

But our Father will forgive: “My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred.” God’s “steadfast love” will bring Christ “to full stature” in us who are “sons and daughters in the Son.” Then we will forgive each other as we are being forgiven: divinely. At the “wedding banquet of the Lamb” we will all share the Bread of Life, loving one another as he loves us: “For I am God and not man, the Holy One present among you.” Jesus taught us to make this the goal and hope of our lives: “Give us this day... the Bread, and forgive...” 

 

God triumphs over sin and death. “His sons and daughters shall come... from the west.... out of Egypt, from... Assyria. And I will resettle them.” All creation will be gathered together, made one in Christ, who is “all in all.” 

 

In confidence we pray, “Deliver us from evil.” This is God’s “steadfast love.”(See Exodus 34:6; Ephesians 1:1-23; 4:1-16.) 

 

Matthew 10:7-15: The ministry to which we are all committed and consecrated as “priests in the Priest” by Baptism is to let this “steadfast love” express itself in and through our physical human actions. 

 

Go, make this proclamation: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give. 

 

Ours is a ministry of life, carried out through the expression of life-giving love. Let us be your face, Lord, and all shall be saved. 

 

Initiative: Be the face of Christ to all you deal with. Be his lips and hands. 


BONUS CONTENT:  

About St Benedict, Patriarch of Western Monasticism 

There are three Saint Benedicts that I know of: Benedict who wrote the Rule for the Benedictine order and is called the "Founder of Western Monasticism" (his feast is July 11); Benedict the Moor (April 4), a black man born a slave near Messina in Sicily in 1546 and freed as a baby, who became a Franciscan and was elected superior twice,  although he was not a priest but the cook; and Benedict Labre (April 16), who tried to be a Trappist, a Carthusian and a Cistercian, and finally wound up as what we call a bum, except that if you get canonized they say you were a "pilgrim" instead. He died in 1783. You can take your choice, but they all sound like kindred spirits to me.  

One thing they had in common: they were all drawn to the hermit life, "and they all tried it for a while. 

  

The famous St. Benedict was born in Italy around 480 A.D. It was not a nice time to be born. When Benedict went to Rome to study, the barbarians were marching through Italy, the Church was torn apart by schism, and Rome was a morally corrupt city. So Benedict went to live as a cave hermit on Mount Subiaco north of Rome. Other monks asked him to be their abbot ("father") or leader, but they found him stricter than they bargained for and tried to kill him. Two things resulted from this: he was named the Patron against Poisoning after he was canonized, and the Rule for monks which he finally wrote became famous for its moderation.  

The world - both religious and not - can never measure what it owes to the Benedictine monasteries. They preserved learning and culture in Western Europe during the best and worst of times, not to speak of what they did to preserve and foster the religious spirit among a violent people barely removed from paganism. Our times can use a large dose of what they did! 


Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry




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