Tuesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Author: Catholic.net | Source: Catholic.net
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint 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 that person; 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 person leads a blind person, both will fall into a pit."
Lord Jesus, I believe you want me to have faith in you, faith that hearkens to your words without any second guessing. I hope in your words, not relying solely on my own strength or reasoning. I love you. You continue to astonish me by showing me that your ways are not my ways.
Lord, may my prayer lead me to step out from my comfort zone today.
1. Loneliness and Prayer:
Jesus dismissed the crowds and went up on the mountain by himself to pray. He was willing to leave the comfort of others’ company to be alone with God. Being in silence without others may lead briefly to a certain loneliness and interior emptiness. We may feel the impulse to seek out others – anything – to anesthetize us from the pain of being alone. If this is the case, we need to persevere in prayer. This suffering from silence can turn into joy and peace. But we must remain with God and learn to enjoy his presence in quiet prayer.
2. Fear of Prayer:
"Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid." Peter said to him in reply, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." At times our fear of silent prayer can be stronger than Peter’s fear of Jesus on the water. We are so used to the company of others, of keeping busy, of being needed, of “zoning out”, that we fear relinquishing these comforts even for a short time of prayer. We must be willing to give up these common comforts, at least temporarily, if we will learn to pray. We must empty ourselves to be filled by Christ, to trust and rely on his strength.
3. A Firm Resolve:
“After they got into the boat, the wind died down.” Once we “get into the boat,” that is, once we resolve to embrace silent, focused prayer, our fears die down like the wind. We have to make a firm decision to dive full force into our prayer, overcoming inertia of every stripe, if we wish to experience the freedom, peace and joy of true prayer. Ask the Lord for that grace and be generous as you begin.
Conversation with Christ:
Lord, you know the sluggishness I experience as I set out to pray. You know how I am tempted to put it off and just do something else. Give me the faith and courage to launch into the deep to begin to pray with all my heart.
I will make a firm resolve to pray intensely today.