July 23, 2019
Today’s Scripture Readings and Scriptural References in the Gospel Acclamation and the Communion Antiphon, for example, arouse us to deeper faith by our hearing more deeply God’s powerful word to us. The readings and Scriptural references are like a little catechism teaching us so much about God and ourselves.
The First Reading from Genesis 18 is a kind of playful passage. Three men (maybe angels?) appear out of nowhere and are going to the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (maybe to eradicate the great sins there) when they appear before Abraham and his family. Then the “bargaining” takes place. Would God destroy the twin cities if 50 righteous people are found? No! Abraham asks what about if 5 of the 50 are lacking, would God destroy them? No! Suppose only 30? No! Suppose only 20? No! What if only 10 are found? No! Abraham bargains here and God easily accepts. GOD IS MERCIFUL!
The Responsorial Psalm, “on the day I called, O Lord, you answered me,” is an excellent response to what the First Reading proclaims (see the above). Note the huge difference between God and humankind, and how closely God responds – “for though the Lord is high, God regards [in deep love] the lowly.” Take a good moment and let this deepen your love for God and your Faith in our amazing God! It is scripture passages like this responsorial psalm that really make our Faith in a loving God very strong.
The Second Reading from Colossians emphasizes the effects of Baptism in making us completely new and changed human beings. The Sacrament of Baptism is the Sacrament of Love by which God attaches Himself/Herself to us in love. The power of Baptism is amazing: see the last sentence of the reading about nailing our former existence to the saving Cross. The scriptural Gospel Acclamation shows us the role of the Holy Spirit in all that is described above.
In the Gospel, Christ our Brother teaches His disciples and us how to pray by giving us the “Our Father.” What follows in the rest of the Gospel shows us how powerful and effective this prayer is.
All scriptural material above calls us to witness to God’s great, deep amazing LOVE to and for the whole world, and especially including ourselves. The Prayer Over the Offerings in today’s Mass clearly shows the abundance of God’s gifts and the working of God’s grace in our lives (especially see the readings). And do not overlook the fact that the abundance of God’s gifts and the working of God’s grace also include the Eucharist we celebrate today!
One of the important take-aways from today’s Liturgy/Mass is that God really and always answers prayer; so pray and pray and pray and ….
“Bless the Lord, O my Soul, and never forget all God’s benefits” (the first scriptural Communion Antiphon).