Daily Reflection
August 1st, 2006

Deb Fortina

Academic Affairs
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Memorial of St. Alphonsus Liguori
Jeremiah 14:17-22
Psalm 79:8, 9, 11 and 13
Matthew 13:36-43

Jeremiah 14: 17-22 “…Among the nations’ idols is there any that gives rain? Or can the mere heavens send showers? Is it not you alone, O LORD, our God, to whom we look? You alone have done all these things.

Psalm 79: 8, 9, 11 & 13 “Remember not against us the iniquities of the past; may your compassion quickly come to us, for we are brought very low....”

Matthew 13: 36-43 “…The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his Kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers.…

Saint Alphonsus Liguori – (1696 – 1787). Alphonsus gave up the practice of law for apostolic activity, eventually becoming a priest and later at the age of 66 becoming the Bishop of “Sant’ Agata dei Goti, a diocese of thirty thousand souls in a state of religious decay”. (Butler’s Lives of the Saints, pg. 356) His contributions to the Faith are many and led him to be called a Doctor of the Church. He founded the Redemptorist congregation, known for their work among the popular missions for peasants in rural areas. His moral theology concentrated on the practical and concrete problems of pastors and confessors. He suffered much towards the end of his life with rheumatic pains, which caused a bend in his neck, rubbing a raw sore on his chest. He experienced 18 months of a “dark night” when his faith and virtue were challenged on every level, while intermittently experiencing relief during periods of experiencing ecstasies.

Whether you believe in God because of Love, or you believe in God because of His great power and ability, today’s readings have something for all of us.

Today’s reading from the Book of Jeremiah was written for us today. It is so easy to really like this prophet; his writing so reveals his heart. Jeremiah is said to be a type and model of Jesus Christ. The reading guide section of the Catholic Study Bible points out the many ways his life runs parallel to the life of Jesus. While it appears Jeremiah is lamenting to the Lord for relief from a long draught, he also mentions their pitiful conditions from war. Jeremiah speaks of “her incurable wound” (Jer 14:17) and later he writes, “We wait for peace, to no avail; for a time of healing, but terror comes instead. (Jer 14:19) Our incurable wound is our human condition. We all move to levels of autonomy and independence from our God; eventually to find ourselves lost, running back in need of a Savior. The stories throughout the history of humankind depict this forward and backward movement towards and away from God. Where are we at today? Our world isn’t any different today. We suffer from the long lasting effects of natural disasters; many people suffering because of droughts, fires, floods as well as the man-made disasters of war. O Lord, we are suffering. So, Jeremiah, our prophet is interceding for us today. We’ve listened to false prophets to think we won’t suffer from following false gods. We keep discovering that we need God as much today, as the people did 600 years before the birth of Christ. Today, Jeremiah is doing the work of trying to bring us back to the Lord. Feed the hungry, care for the sick, hold up the downtrodden…we have many opportunities to reach out to people today. The holy Father Pope Benedict XVI asked us all to pray last Sunday for peace in the world. Please take a moment to join your prayers with many others and ask for a peaceful end to the many conflicts.

In the Gospel reading in Matthew, Jesus uses the planting story to tell the crowd that the Son of Man plants good seeds. His field is the world, the good seed represents the children of the Kingdom and the weeds are the children of the Evil One, which are sown by our enemy the Devil. Some people don’t want to believe that the fires of hell exist, but Jesus says “the Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his Kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth…Whoever has ears ought to hear.” (Matthew 13: 41-43)

“Remember not against us the iniquities of the past; may your compassion quickly come to us, for we are brought very low.” (Psalm 79:8)

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