Mass Reading & Meditation for July 4, 2013
Meditation: Matthew 9:1-8
Independence Day (USA)
“Rise, pick up your stretcher and go home.” (Matthew 9:6)
Today’s first reading is sometimes called the “binding” of Isaac, because of the way Abraham bound his son as he prepared to sacrifice him to the Lord. We all know how that story ended: Because Abraham was so humble and obedient to God—even to the point of being willing to give up his only son—he was allowed to “unbind” Isaac and sacrifice a ram instead.
Reading this story with New Testament eyes, we can see it as a foreshadowing of the fact that God himself did not unbind his own Son when he was nailed to a cross. Even when people said, “Come down from the cross now and we will believe” (Matthew 27:42), God didn’t release Jesus—and neither did Jesus try to release himself. Instead, by remaining bound to that cross, Jesus made it possible for all of us to be unbound. He has broken the chains of sin and death and set all of us free!
Throughout his earthly life, Jesus exercised a ministry of unbinding. He cast out demons that had kept people enslaved. He released people from physical illnesses. With words of forgiveness he set others free from guilt and shame. And as we see in today’s Gospel reading, he often unbound people on more than one level. In today’s story, a physical healing followed a deeper liberation from sin.
So how free are you feeling these days?
It’s okay to admit that there are places in our hearts that still need to be unbound. After all, none us of is perfect! God doesn’t expect us to have it all together all the time. What he wants is open hearts—people will stay humble and allow him to keep loosening the bonds that hold us back. It may be a habit that has become an addiction. It may be guilt over an unforgiven sin or resentment against someone who has hurt us. It may be a distorted view of who God is and how he looks at us. Whatever it is, we can bring it before the Lord and ask him to unbind us.
So go ahead and let the Lord loosen your bonds.
“Jesus, I long to experience a deeper freedom as a child of God. Come and set me free!”
Genesis 22:1-19; Psalm 115:1-6, 8-9