Mass Reading & Meditation for August 1, 2013
Meditation: Exodus 40:16-21,34-38
Saint Alphonsus Liguori
“If the cloud did not lift, they did not go forward; only when it lifted did they go forward” (Exodus 40:37)
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a foolproof way of knowing whether you were on the right path? During their trek to the Promised Land, the Israelites had two. They had the Ten Commandments, housed in a special tent, and they had God’s presence in the form of a cloud covering the tent. They had both the written law of God and the hovering Spirit of God to guide them and direct them on their journey. Not only did the Israelites have both, they had both working together. The cloud hovered over the tent, showing the people that they needed the Spirit to help them understand the letter of the law. It also showed that they needed the structure of specific commandments to help them understand what the Spirit wanted of them.
How true this is for us as well! We can’t live our lives solely by trying to obey every commandment of God. We need the Spirit to help us understand God’s word. We need the Spirit to lift us up and fill us with grace so that we can follow the Lord with love and passion, not just blind obedience. Similarly, we need God’s commands to help us discern the promptings of the Spirit. Otherwise, we risk being blown about by every urge and “spiritual sense” that comes our way.
Clearly, when it comes to following the Lord, it’s not either-or, it’s both-and. How good to know, then, that you are nothing less than a temple of the Holy Sprit! You know God’s law. It’s written in your memory, and it can help you judge your actions. But at the same time, the Holy Spirit dwells in your heart. He is there to infuse your knowledge with divine grace and guide you with divine creativity and wisdom. The letter and the Spirit: That’s how you can stay on the right path!
“Thank you, Father, for revealing your mind to me through your Law, and for giving your Spirit to me to guide me in the right path!”
Psalm 84:3-6, 8, 11; Matthew 13:47-53