Memorial of Saint Joachim and Saint Anne, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary

2018 Devotions Daily Devotions July

Jer 2:1-3,7,8,12,13; Ps 36:6-11; Mt 13:10-17
“In your light we see light.”

Without the Light of Christ we are in the darkness still. We cannot see even enough to take the next step of faith, but in his light we see light. Out of the darkness of the Easter Vigil shines one light, and it brightens the whole congregation and the entire church. That One Light is divided and shared with all those who wait in vigil, though the light of the Pascal Candle is divided, it is not diminished. Indeed, Christ is Light from Light, and in his light we see light. This light is the gift of faith that enables us to see what cannot be seen with natural eyes. The same is true of the Rock, Christ, who follows us all along the journey through the desert. From Christ Our God comes the fountain of life that floods the dry and barren ground of our souls and our communities with new life, abundant life. Refreshed with this fountain of life and bright with the light of Christ we join the prayer of Psalm 36, “How precious is your mercy, O God!” Indeed, the LORD’s mercy reaches to heaven and his faithfulness to the clouds. His justice is like the mountains of God and his judgments like the mighty deep. In his precious mercy we take refuge under the shadow of his wings. In this cool and safe sacred space we are filled with the prime gifts of his house. Indeed, we are filled with the Light, and the delightful stream of his love refreshes and cleanses us. His mercy is upon his friends, and the upright of heart have a just defense. Sometimes we are upright, and in those moments we have divine security. Christ is always the friend of sinners; so we can rest secure in his divine mercy. The Prophet Jeremiah remembers the early days of Israel’s faithfulness and holds up the days of living waters to the poisoned waters of Baal in their worship. The Lord Jesus has a similar problem with the blind crowd who continues to see him in the light of the messiah they wanted rather than receive the Christ who is Light from Light. We, too, come thirsty and blind to every liturgy, and we always need the fountain Christ who is our Light and our precious delight.

The Prophet to awaked Jerusalem uses the pain of betrayal in a marriage. The Seer John, in the book of Revelation, cries out the same divine pain when the LORD says, “You have fallen from your first love.” Sin is poison and we so easily gulp it down. Jeremiah continues to reveal the LORD’s agony, “I remember the devotion of your youth, and how you loved me as a bride.” That first love has diminished and even disappeared in the house of Israel. This once upon a time bride has brought the poison of idolatry into the marriage chamber of the LORD. Even the priests did not object to this popular movement toward national adultery. Even the prophets prophesied by the lies of Baal, that no-god-at-all. The LORD, the faithful divine spouse of a rebellious Israel, cries out to the heaven, “Be amazed at this…shudder with sheer horror!” Not only has Israel forsaken the fountain of life, they have dug broken cisterns to die of thirst. We, the New Israel, share in this mystery of iniquity. We, too, flirt with sin and disaster, and sometimes we do this just because of the thrill of it all. False joys and deadly pleasures fill our hearts to overflowing with poison and the very light of faith becomes total darkness. How long will we defile the land of heritage? How long will we deal with the law and ignore the Lawgiver?

Sometimes those closest to the Lord Jesus seem to be the ones who know the least. They could not understand why the Master used parables to speak of the Kingdom to the crowds. The mustard seed faith of the Twelve was slow to germinate and grow. They often times seemed unaware of the mysteries about which the Lord Jesus was teaching them. Here the Lord Jesus begins to speak of faith when he tells them that, “To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” If you have even a little faith you will grow rich in faith. If you live by your fantasies and illusions, these will be ripped away. Then you will have nothing, and you will be ready to seek and find the light of Christ who alone can give you faith and refresh you in the life-giving fountains. Many who think they know everything there is to know about the Lord Jesus and his Kingdom do not understand. They hear but do not listen with the ear of the heart, so they do not understand the mysteries of the Kingdom. Even their eyes will be blind to the truth of the gospel because they are filled with the log of prejudice and bias. Their hearts are not open, but they are fat with selfishness and concupiscence. They already know what God is going to do, so he never surprises them. They know that his Kingdom and his King are going to take over the world as we know it, and all will be the same except for a “Christian” flavor to the world, as we know it. The Lord Jesus has another light to shine on the mystery of the Kingdom, and it is the light of the cross, our true delight.