Mass Reading & Meditation for August 16, 2013
Meditation: Matthew 19:3-12
Saint Stephen of Hungary
“Not all can accept this word, but only those to whom that is granted.” (Matthew 19:11)
“Is divorce ever permissible?” the Pharisees ask. Jesus reminds them that God intends for marriage to be not only permanent but transformative as well. Its goal, he answers, is that a man and a woman leave their individuality aside and come together to create a whole new unity, a family.
Hearing this exchange, his disciples offer an honest and understandable response: If it’s so hard, maybe it would be better not to marry at all. Jesus gazes at them with a sad smile. Do you think it’s easier to make a permanent commitment to being single? he asks. Not on your life! Neither is it easy to live single while remaining open to marriage.
The truth is, living any state of life as God intended is challenging. Circumstances change, and we scramble to adjust. In one way or another we all fail to live up to God’s ideal. We all fail God, our spouse or our religious community from time to time. This doesn’t mean we chose the wrong vocation. It simply means that we have momentarily forgotten how much we need to depend on God’s abundant grace. Fidelity in marriage or singleness is only possible because God is faithful: faithful to guide us, faithful to sustain us, faithful to forgive us.
Look at the refrain for today’s Psalm: “His mercy endures forever.” God expresses it in many different ways at many different moments, but he is always faithful. His enduring mercy is the very thing we need in order to be faithful.
Spend some time today considering your vocation. Thank God for the call he has given you. Thank him, too, for being faithful to you as you strive to live out that call. Then ask him to show you one particular way to express your faithfulness today. Maybe it’s a little note of encouragement and love for your spouse. Maybe it’s a gesture of support to a brother priest or a sister religious who is going through a rough patch. Maybe God will show you something you are free to do because you haven’t arrived at a place of permanent commitment. Whatever it is, rejoice and do it!
“Father, you are always faithful. Thank you for inviting and enabling me to live out a noble, heavenly vocation.”
Joshua 24:1-13; Psalm 136:1-3, 16-17, 21-22, 24