Tuesday, August 2 ~ Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Saint Peter Julian Eymard, Priest; the “Apostle of the Eucharist”
Holy Gospel: Matthew 15:1-2, 10-14 Some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They do not wash their hands when they eat a meal.” He summoned the crowd and said to them, “Hear and understand. It is not what enters one’s mouth that defiles the man; but what comes out of the mouth is what defiles one.” Then his disciples approached and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?” He said in reply, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”
Meditation: Which is more important to God – clean hands or a clean mind and a claan heart? The Scribes and Pharisees accused Jesus’ disciples of breaking their ritual traditions. They were concerned with avoiding ritual defilement, some no doubt out of fear of God, and others out of fear of pleasing other people. Jesus points his listeners to the source of true defilement – evil desires which come from inside a person’s innermost being. Sin does not just happen or force itself upon us. It first springs from the innermost recesses of our thoughts and intentions, from the secret desires which only the individual soul can conceive. God in his mercy sent his Son Jesus Christ to free us from our sinful cravings and burden of guilt, and to restore us to wholeness of life and goodness. But to receive his mercy and healing, we must admit our faults and ask for his forgiveness. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9). When Cain was jealous of his brother, Abel, God warned him to guard his heart: “Sin is couching at the door; it’s desire is for you, but you must master it” (Genesis 4:7). Do you allow any sinful desires to couch at your door? We do not need to entertain or succumb to sinful desires or thoughts, but instead, through the grace of God, turn away from sinful thoughts and actions.
Prayer: O God, who adorned Saint Peter Julian Eymard with a wonderful love for the sacred mysteries of the Body and Blood of your Son, graciously grant that we, too, may be worthy to receive the delights he drew from this divine banquet. 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: Only God can change our hearts and make them clean and whole through the power of the Holy Spirit. Like a physician who probes the wound before treating it, God through his Word and Spirit first brings to light our sinful condition that we may recognize sin for what it is and call upon God’s mercy and pardon. The Lord is every ready to change and purify our hearts through his Holy Spirit who dwells within us. His power and grace enables us to choose what is good and to reject what is evil. Are you open to this change of heart? Do you believe in the power of God’s love to change and transform your heart?