Mass Reading & Meditation for August 14, 2013
Meditation: Matthew 18:15-20
Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr
“Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.” (Matthew 18:18)
Superman, Wonder Woman, and a whole host of superheroes exercise remarkable powers in the pages of comic books, on television, and in the movies. But you have been given a power more amazing than any they possess. Unaided by an artist’s pen or a computer programmer’s imagery, you have the power to bind and loose things here on earth with a force that reaches into heaven. That’s how powerful your words are!
You can dispense mercy and forgiveness to the people around you, just as God does to you. And you can do it not only with your words but also with the thoughts and attitudes of your heart.
Ask yourself, “How often do I speak or think negative, hurtful, or judgmental words about people?” They may seem harmless, but our words do have the power to bind people up and hold them to the very things that repel us. Now ask, “How often do I speak or think words of forgiveness, freedom, and goodness?” These words are just as powerful, and God sees every one of them!
The same applies to yourself. How many times do you look at yourself and say, “You ding-dong,” “You’re so stupid,” or “You’re such a loser”? How many times do you tell yourself that you’re no good at providing for your family, sharing the gospel, helping with homework, or cooking good meals? Self-condemning thoughts can be just as damaging to yourself as judgmental attitudes about someone else. So why bind yourself to the things you hate?
Instead, speak freedom over yourself and those around you. Instead of saying, “I’m so judgmental,” declare, “I can be merciful as God is merciful!” When you get it wrong for the one-hundredth time, try saying, “I’ll get it right next time” or “This is hard for me, I need your help, Jesus!” Are teenagers acting up at the mall? Are speeding drivers terrorizing the highway? Declare self-control and peace over them. Proclaim God’s love for them. Speak life-giving words. Try to find freeing and merciful attitudes in your heart. Exercise this amazing power to forgive, and you will set people free!
“Jesus, help me to exercise the power to forgive and to reconcile, to set free and to pronounce blessings on myself, my family, my friends, and even my enemies.”
Deuteronomy, 34:1-12; Psalm 66:1-3, 5, 8, 16-17