Mass Reading & Meditation for July 20, 2013
Meditation: Matthew 12:14-21
Saint Apollinaris, Bishop and Martyr
“Behold, my servant…” (Matthew 12:18)
At one time or another you may have had the misfortune to work for an unreasonable boss, someone who found fault with everything you did. You had to resubmit entire reports because of just one mistake. He or she was ere always criticizing you for the smallest things, and you spent most of your day fearing what kind of trouble you would find yourself in. Because of that fear, you really didn’t respect his or her authority.
That’s not Jesus! He is more like a servant than a master. He came to lift us up to God, not force us into submission. Perhaps the best example of that is how he treated the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11). Jesus reached out to her with forgiveness—unlike her detractors, who wanted only to punish her. In this story, as in so many others, we see that Jesus’ authority is rooted in his mercy.
This is how God still works with us. It may be hard to believe, especially when it comes to our faults. If we focus too much on them, we may start to view God like that ruthless boss. We fear that he’s always unhappy with our performance. And yet the fact is that he loves us as we are right now—bruises and all! As one spiritual writer puts it, “When God loves me, I must accept myself as well. I cannot be more demanding than God, can I?” An understanding of that love has to be the foundation for our walk with him.
No doubt, there is some imperfection or sin in your life that you would like to be rid of. It may be gossip, anger, impatience, gluttony—you name it! But instead of thinking about your inclination to do these things, try thinking about Jesus. Imagine him looking at you with unconditional mercy. Go ahead and receive that mercy and let it transform you. In him, you can patient, kind, and loving. In him, you can look on others with that same mercy. Just let him love you, and he will take care of the rest!
“Thank you, Lord, that I don’t have to qualify for your mercy! Let this awareness help me to love you more—and to love others as you have loved me.”
Exodus 12:37-42; Psalm 136:1, 23-24, 10-15