THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
FROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER
September 3-9, 2017
To be a member of the people of God does not sound very encouraging in this Sunday’s readings. The Prophet Jeremiah 20: 7-9 wants to abandon his call to make God known, because he is persecuted and his message rejected. We have the beautiful passage that describes the “speaking of God’s name.” It is “like fire burning in one’s heart.” Jeremiah cannot resist God’s call. Our world is not too much different than Jeremiah’s. Are we willing to go on revealing the presence of God through our thoughts, words and deeds, even though they may be rejected?
In Romans 12: 1-2 St. Paul begs us to “offer our bodies as a living sacrifice…and not to conform ourselves to this age…” At all times the will of God must be sought. It is difficult to transform ourselves in a world of hustle and bustle; the daily grind of all that must get done is overwhelming. However, that is exactly where we must firmly plant God. A moment here, a thought there of the holy name of God is transformative. “God bless you my beloved children,” as you rush them off to their destination, a quick kiss for a loved one with a holy sign on the forehead and a blessing on the house and neighborhood as you leave it. You can generate so many precious moments to bring forth that “burning in one’s heart.” Before we know it, God’s presence is real and full of mercy in the world.
Jesus speaks strongly in Matthew 16: 21-27 about life as a Christian. When Jesus tells his disciples that he “will suffer greatly, be rejected by the Jewish hierarchy, be killed and will rise on the third day” all in one breath, Peter, of course, is indignant that any such thing should happen. Jesus calls Peter, “Satan.” That must have really hurt, but we are all “Satan,” when we “do not think as God does.” We can become that “obstacle” to the Good News. Jesus tells us the path, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” Of course, like the disciples, in the back of our minds is that thought, “What will I get out of this following?” Jesus is clear, “All will be repaid according to their conduct.”
September 8 is a special day on which to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary on her birthday. This is the day that she is born without sin. Joachim and Ann, her parents, surely sensed that this was a special child. According to tradition, they dedicated her to service in the temple where she spent some time with the Prophetess, Anna. It is likely that these two “Ann’s” taught Mary the great proclamation of another “Ann” of the Old Testament – Hannah, the mother of Samuel, the great Prophet. In 1 Samuel 2: 1-10 Hannah thanks God for her son. Mary makes the Song, the Magnificat, her own, as Elizabeth recognizes her as the mother of the Messiah. Happy Birthday, Mary.
St. Peter Claver was a Spanish Jesuit who was missioned to Latin America and served mostly in Colombia. He is the Patron of Slaves and ministry to African Americans. He opposed slavery and met hundreds of ships of African slaves and cared for them the best he could. He was known as “The Slave of Slaves.”
Let the fire of God’s name burn in your hearts and be comforted that our God is loving and merciful,
Sister Rosemarie Goins, Director