“The importance of detachment from things, the importance of poverty, is that we are supposed to be free from things that we might prefer to people. Wherever things have become more important than people, we are in trouble. That is the crux of the whole matter.” ~Fr. Thomas Merton, OCSO
Monday, July 18 ~ Sixteenth Week in the Season of Ordinary Time
Saint Camillus de Lellis
Holy Gospel: Matthew 12:38-42 Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” He said to them in reply, “An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and there is something greater than Jonah here. At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here.”
Meditation: Jesus gives a rather stern warning to his generation when they demanded a sign from him. It was characteristic of the Jewish people that they demanded “signs” from God’s messengers to authenticate their claims. Jesus faulted them for one thing: spiritual adultery. The image of adultery was often used in the scriptures for describing apostasy or infidelity towards God. When the religious leaders pressed Jesus to give proof for his claims, he says in so many words that he is God’s sign and that they need no further evidence from heaven than his own person. The Ninevites recognized God’s warning when Jonah spoke to them, and they repented (Jonah 3:5). And the Queen of Sheba recognized God’s wisdom in Solomon (1 Kings 10:1-9). Jonah was God’s sign and his message was the message of God for the people of Nineveh. Unfortunately the religious leaders were not content to accept the signs right before their very eyes. They had rejected the message of John the Baptist and now they reject Jesus as God’s Anointed One (Messiah) and they fail to heed his message. Simeon had prophesied at Jesus’ birth that he was “destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that inner thoughts of many will be revealed” (Luke 2:34- 35). Jesus confirmed his message with many miracles in preparation for the greatest sign of all – his resurrection on the third day.
Prayer: O God, who adorned the Priest Saint Camillus with a singular grace of charity towards the sick, pour out upon us, by his merits, a spirit of love for you, so that, serving you in our neighbor, we may, at the hour of our death, pass safely over to you. 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. Amen.
Contemplation: The Lord Jesus through the gift of his Holy Spirit offers us freedom from sin and ignorance and he gives us wisdom and understanding so that we may grow in knowledge of God and his ways. Do you thirst for God and for the wisdom which comes from above? James the Apostle says that the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity (James 3:17). A double-minded person cannot receive this kind of wisdom. If we wish to be wise in God’s ways, then we must humble ourselves before him, like attentive students who wish to learn, and submit our heart and mind to his will for our lives. The single of heart and mind desire one thing alone – God who is the source of all wisdom, goodness, truth, and knowledge. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with the wisdom which comes from above and to free your heart from all that would hinder God’s loving action in your life.