Stop Running Away

Jonah made ready to flee . . . away from the Lord.  Have you ever been in a store or a crowded park and seen a small child making a beeline away from his parents?   More often than not, the parents are right behind, following that child just as stubbornly as he is running away!   This is essentially what is happening in the first reading as Jonah makes a beeline away from God and his calling. The Book of Jonah is a classic example of how...

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Rejoice because your names are written in heaven. We might be confused by Jesus’ words,  “Do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you”.    Is he telling the seventy-two to be indifferent to their ability to cast out demons?   Not at all!   He is urging them to make a shift in their thinking.   Of course they’re excited to know that their prayer has so much power; wouldn’t you be?   But Jesus wants them to grasp an even bigger picture:...

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It is not my fault

Justice is with the Lord our God. “It’s not my fault!”   Isn’t this a constant refrain?    Parents hear it all the time from their children.   Coworkers try to avoid the consequences of their poor performance.   So it’s almost jarring to hear the exiled Israelites proclaim, “Justice is with the Lord” . With this jolt of honesty, the Israelites joined the likes of Daniel and Nehemiah in offering a prayer of humble, heartfelt repentance.   They...

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The harvest is abundant

The harvest is abundant. When Jesus spoke about a “harvest,” was he just talking about crops?   Of course not!   He was speaking about all the people who were waiting to hear the good news.   The “harvest” consisted in the vast number of souls ready to believe in him, longing to enter into the kingdom of God—whether they knew it or not.   As we pray today, let’s reflect on this harvest: The harvest is abundant.   “Father, you are master of the...

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To Rebuild It

Send me to Judah . . . to rebuild it. Perhaps you know the story of the call of St. Francis of Assisi, whose feast day we celebrate.   Praying in a run-down chapel, he heard the Lord saying, “Francis, go and repair my house; look, it is falling into ruins.”   Now, God wasn’t speaking about that particular chapel.   He was speaking about the challenges facing the whole Church at the time.   It took Francis some time to realize this, but once he...

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God is with you

We have heard that God is with you. “They were drawn like moths to a flame.”  This is what the prophet Zechariah might say if he were to speak this prophecy today. Speaking about the future restoration of Israel, Zechariah said that foreigners from everywhere would be drawn to the people or, more precisely, to God, who was present in the midst of them. Why would the people be so attracted to the Israelites?   Because they would want what the...

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