Time and again we see how God comes to us in our brokenness. The woman in today’s gospel has the desperate love of a mother for her child in distress. The Blessed Mother appeared to a woman as a Mother that was everything the child’s own mother was not. God comes to us always. Let God into your heart.
Suicide is on the rise. So are depression and anxiety. Pornography is rampant. We are angry and vitriolic with one another. What is our future? In today’s first reading Job says that life is a drudgery. He concludes he shall never see happiness again. Wow. Job is in a bad place. But too many of us may feel that way too. The antidote to this sadness? Faith in God. Cultivating a relationship with Jesus.
In Letter to the Hebrews, which is the first reading for Mass today, when Moses encounters God he says this: “I am terrified and trembling.” And it is understandable. It was believed that if one saw God, the result was death. It is one reason why the first phrase spoken in a divine encounter is “Be not afraid.” But when we encounter Jesus asking for forgiveness, or in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the result is a loving God who longs to give us his embrace.
Waiting for God. Today we encounter Simeon and Anna who spent long periods of time waiting for God, waiting to see the Christ. Great mystics, saints who knew God intimately often did not feel that close presence of God. Can we wait for God?
Is it really the case Saint Paul is saying that marriage is a “second-class vocation”? Can that be the case? Or, is there something else behind what he is saying. Do we need the context to know that the real message of the second reading is to make sure all we do is directed toward pleasing God. Marriage and family life is so powerful that the Second Vatican Council called marriage and family the “domestic church.”
The quest for holiness. Today we celebrate Saint Thomas Aquinas, perhaps the greatest theologian in the Church. But the most important quality about Saint Thomas Aquinas was not his outstanding theological work, the Summa, his other impressive writings, his liturgical prayers, his poetry. No, the most impressive part of Saint Thomas Aquinas is something attainable for all of us: his constant quest for holiness.
Do you have a sense of urgency about sharing the Good News? Do you bring people in to conversations about Jesus, or about the tremendous benefits of a relationship with Jesus lived in the Church? If we believe Jesus forgives our sins, heals our brokenness and offers us new life, then it is only natural to wish to share that with other people.
Are you Jonah? Or are you Andrew, Peter, James or John? The readings today indicate that we can decide to avoid God, running far away, or we can “drop our nets” and follow Jesus wherever he leads. Whether we say yes right away, or it takes us awhile, God continues to call us to something more wonderful that we can imagine.
Do you really believe that Jesus is the divine Son of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity? Or is Jesus simply a nice guy who is a little better than we are? While we want to remember that Jesus is approachable, we also want to know that Jesus is strong enough to handle whatever we set before him.
Listen. See. Share. Today’s readings provide a framework for Christian discipleship. Samuel hears the voice of God but does not know it is God. But once he does, wow. He becomes a great prophet. Saint John the Baptist points out the Lamb of God. And some of his disciples follow. Andrew is convinced Jesus is the Messiah and he shares this belief with his brother Simon. Listen. See. Share.