Friday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Ez 16:1-15,60,63; Is 12:2-4BCD,5-6; Mt 19:3-12
“Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.”

The prophesy of Isaiah provides our responsorial for today’s liturgy of the Word. Indeed the LORD has turned from his anger, his wrath reveals the depths of his love, his absolute love. The Just and Holy LORD cannot not respond to the lies of the religions of his people. Indeed, he never demands child sacrifice or temple prostitution. The weak and powerless of his people are not to be used, treated like objects and used for anyone’s benefit. God is indeed our savior, we are confident and unafraid, even if we are poor and lowly. The LORD himself is our strength and our courage, and with joy we will draw water from the fountain of salvation. We give thanks to the LORD; we acclaim his name; among the nations we make known his deeds, proclaim how exalted is his name. We sing praise for his glorious achievement, and we are that glorious achievement. Our dignity is revealed by our actions and our attitudes throughout all the nations. For great in our midst is the Holy One of Israel. The people to whom Ezekiel preached were covered with confusion and utterly silenced for shame when the LORD pardoned them from all they had done. Those who are married know how powerful is the love of Christ for His Bride, the church. It is that faithfulness that summons all of us to holiness whatever our vocation. A life of holiness is impossible without the grace of Holy Eucharist and the forgiveness found in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

It is utterly shocking for Israel to hear the words of the prophet Ezekiel; it is just as shocking for us to hear these same words applied to us. Of our own nature, because of the ruination of original sin and of our many offenses we are nothing too behold. Indeed, we were not noticed; we were passed by. The LORD stopped and noticed us in the blood of our suffering and he summoned us to unite our sufferings with those of His Son upon the cross. From that growth the LORD saw us, and he saw that we were now old enough, wise enough, solid enough, for love. So the LORD spread the corner of his cloak over us and covered our nakedness. He favored us with the abundance of his tender mercy and gave us a beauty all his own: washed us with the water of baptismal grace, strengthened us with the oil of gladness in confirmation, adorned us with the jewelry of virtue, our garments were fine linen, silk and embroidered cloth. Our dignity as his bride is nothing less that that of a queen. But in spite of such generosity we managed to twist our dignity into self-adoration we became captivated by our own beauty and lavished ourselves on any lover that came by. Still the LORD remembers his covenant with us; it is an everlasting covenant. When we realize the truth of God’s love, then and only then, will we remember and be covered with confusion, and then we will be utterly silenced for shame when the LORD pardons all we have done. When God forgets our sins; they exist no longer. When God remembers his covenant; we are reborn. It is at such a moment that we receive the word of God, not as the word of men,
but, as it truly is, the word of God.
The oneness, the permanence, of the marriage covenant as God intended it is to reveal the oneness God has with us, his beloved bride. Once we are one, in spirit and in truth, we cannot be easily separated, we kill both in such a separation. We are made for love and love makes us one with the other, the Other and the others we love. We long for this unity more than we long for our next breath. We desire this unity more than we desire anything else. We cannot trivialize the bond love creates in human relationships. This was what God intended in creation, from the very beginning we were created to become united with another…such love in the Trinity is revealed in the startling beauty of marriage. The Pharisees act as a foil here for the Lord Jesus to reveal the unexpected and amazing truth that our eternal spouse is the LORD God Almighty. Each human soul and the entire body of Christ is attracted by the Divine Bridegroom, Christ the Lord. So precious is this divine-human unity that even the most desirable unity of marriage in this world is nothing in comparison. Each Eucharist renews this beautiful truth in our lives.


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