Thursday, October 16 ~ Twenty-Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin; Saint Gerard Majella, Priest

Holy Gospel: Luke 11:47-54 The Lord said: “Woe to you who build the memorials of the prophets whom your fathers killed. Consequently, you bear witness and give consent to the deeds of your ancestors, for they killed them and you do the building. Therefore, the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and Apostles; some of them they will kill and persecute’ in order that this generation might be charged with the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who died between the altar and the temple building. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be charged with their blood! Woe to you, scholars of the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.” When Jesus left, the scribes and Pharisees began to act with hostility toward him and to interrogate him about many things, for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say.

Meditation: What does Jesus mean when he says they have taken away the key of knowledge? The religious lawyers and scribes held the “office of the keys” since they were the official interpreters of the scriptures. Unfortunately their interpretation of the scriptures became so distorted and difficult to understand that others were “shut off” to the scriptures. They not only shut themselves to heaven; they also hindered others from understanding God’s word. Through pride and envy, they rejected not only the prophets of old, but God’s final prophet, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the “key of David” (see Isaiah 22:22; Revelations 3:7) who opens heaven to those who accept him as Lord and Savior. He is the “Wisdom of God” and source of everlasting life. Only the humble of heart – those who thirst for God and acknowledge his word as true – can truly understand this wisdom.

Prayer (Saint Margaret Mary): Pour out on us, we pray, O Lord, the spirit with which you so remarkably endowed Saint Margaret Mary, so that we may come to know that love of Christ which surpasses all understanding and be utterly filled with your fullness. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Prayer (Saint Gerard Majella): O good Saint Gerard, powerful intercessor before God and wonder worker of our day, confidently I call upon you and seek your aid. On Earth you always fulfilled God’s designs, help me now to do the holy will of God. Implore the Master of Life, from whom all paternity proceeds, to render me fruitful in offspring, that I may raise up children to God in this life, and in the world to come heirs to the Kingdom of His Glory. Amen.

Contemplation: Do you revere God’s word and submit to it as true and authoritative for your life? Or does God’s word make for a good phrase on a t-shirt or coffee mug, and that’s about as far as it goes? God sent his prophets to open the ears of his people to hear and understand God’s word and intention for their lives. God’s wisdom is personified in the voice of the prophets, a voice that usually brought rejection and martyrdom because they spoke for God rather than for human approval and favor. Jesus chastised many of the religious leaders of his day for being double-minded and for demanding from others standards which they refused to satisfy. They professed admiration for the prophets by building their tombs while at the same time they opposed their message and closed their ears to the word of God. Are your ears open to God’s word – enough to transform your mind and heart?