Daily Reflection
July 15th, 2006

Dick Hauser, S.J.

Rector and Theology
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Memorial of St. Bonaventure
Isaiah 6:1-8
Psalm 93:1ab, 1cd-2, 5
Matthew 10:24-33

Many of us consider religious beliefs a private matter to be shared — if at all — only with our family and closest friends. We‘re afraid that in sharing religious convictions we might be setting ourselves up as “holier than thou.”

Today’s gospel challenges this attitude, “Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.” And earlier in the gospel Jesus exhorts his disciples to be witnesses to the world: “You are the light of the world. . . .Your light must shine before others so they may see goodness in your acts and give praise to your heavenly Father.”

Clearly Jesus intends his followers to be forthright in witnessing to their belief in him and in his heavenly Father, just as he was forthright. Jesus — and we his followers -- are called to be lights in darkness!

But not only do cultural inhibitions keep us from witnessing to our religious beliefs but also our own sense of unworthiness. Who are we to witness to the Lord! Don’t we share Isaiah’s resistance when the Lord called him to be a prophet, “Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips.”

But the Lord touched Isaiah’s lips, purifying him and removing his resistance. Now Isaiah heard the Lord’s call clearly, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” And Isaiah responded simply, “Here I am. Send me.”

Today’s readings leave us with challenging questions. To whom is the Lord sending us to witness? Are we willing to overcome our resistances, trust God’s purifying grace and respond to our call to witness to Gospel truths in our homes, work places, community?

Can we respond like Isaiah, “Here I am. Send me.”?

Today we celebrate the memorial of St. Bonaventure (1217-1274), an Italian Franciscan and doctor of the Church. Bonaventure heard and responded to God’s call. His witness changed his world.

How is our witness changing ours?

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