Friday, July 1 ~ Thirteenth Week in the Season of Ordinary Time
Saint Junipero Serra, Priest
Holy Gospel: Matthew 9:9-13 As Jesus passed by, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
Meditation: We live in a world where Jesus constantly invites each of us to follow him. And yet, on this day when we celebrate our country’s birth, there are many reasons to celebrate the blessings that God has bestowed on our country, and causes for concern about the freedoms we exercise. Does Christ invite us to follow him to view pornography? Does Jesus invite us to follow him by participating in any way in having an abortion? Does Jesus invite us to participate in same-sex marriage? Of course not, as these are contrary to God’s laws and the teachings of Jesus Christ. And yet so many Americans – including those who call themselves Christian – regularly participate in these sinful acts and, in doing so, choose not follow Christ. On this day when we celebrate the birth of the United States of America, let us pray that our fellow citizens – men and women of all ages, walks of life, and religious faiths – will turn away from all that separates us from the love of God, and in doing so simply take up Jesus Christ on his personal invitation to each and every one of us when he says: “follow me.”
Prayer: O God, who by your ineffable mercy have been pleased through the labors of your priest Saint Junipero Serra to count many American peoples within your Church, grant by his intercession that we may so join our hearts to you in love, as to carry always and everywhere before all people the image of your Only Begotten Son. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: What is God’s call on your life? When Jesus saw Matthew sitting at his tax office – no doubt counting his day’s profit – Jesus spoke only two words – “follow me.” Those two words changed Matthew’s life forever, from a self-serving profiteer to a God-serving apostle who would bring the treasures of God’s kingdom to the poor and needy. Jesus says “follow me” to every man and woman on this earth. How do you respond to Jesus’ invitation to follow him? Take Christ up on his personal invitation to “follow me,” and in doing so let your life be forever changed.