Tuesday, June 30, 2015
WEDNESDAY, 13th Week in Ordinary Time
July 1, 2015 WEDNESDAY, 13th Week in Ordinary Time
Bl. Junipero Serra, Priest
Gn 21: 5, 8 – 20a / Mt 8: 28 – 34
[Blessed Junifero Serra (1713 – 1784), a Spanish Franciscan friar, and his brother Franciscans founded many Spanish missions from San Diego to San Francisco in California from 1769 until his death in 1784. He was beatified by St. Pope John Paul II on 25 September 1988.]
Reading: Gn 21: 5, 8 – 20a
Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
The child grew and on the day Isaac was weaned, Abraham held a great feast. Sarah saw the child that Hagar, the Egyptian had borne to Abraham, mocking her son and she said to Abraham, "Send this slave girl and her son away; the child of this slave must not share the inheritance with my son, Isaac."
This matter distressed Abraham because it concerned his son, but God said to him, "Don't be worried about the boy and your maidservant. Listen to Sarah and do whatever she says, because the race which is called by your name will spring from Isaac. But from the son of your servant I will also form a nation, for he too is your offspring."
Abraham rose early next morning and gave bread and a skin bag of water to Hagar. He put the child on her back and sent her away. She went off and wandered in the desert of Beersheba. When there was no more water in the skin, she pushed the boy under one of the bushes, and then went and sat down about a hundred yards away, for she thought, "I cannot bear to see my son die."
But as she sat there, the child began to wail. God heard him and the Angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said, "What is the matter, Hagar? Don't be afraid. God has heard the boy crying. Get up, pick the boy up and hold him safely, for I will make him into a great nation." God then opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. She went and filled the skin and gave the boy a drink.
God was with the boy.
Gospel: Mt 8:28 - 34
When Jesus reached Gadara on the other side, he was met by two demoniacs who came out of the tombs. They were so fierce that no one dared to pass that way. Suddenly they shouted, "What do you want from us, you, Son of God? Have you come to torture us before the time?"
At some distance away there was a large herd of pigs feeding. So the demons begged him, "If you drive us out, send us into that herd of pigs." Jesus ordered them, "Go." So they left and went into the pigs. The whole herd rushed down the cliff into the lake and drowned.
The men in charge of them ran off to the town, where they told the whole story, also what happened to the men possessed with the demons. Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their area.
Today's Gospel reading is about the cure of two men possessed by evil spirits; at the request of the evil spirits themselves, upon leaving the possessed men the evil spirits were allowed to go into a herd of pigs which then rushed down the cliff into the lake and drowned. The herdsmen and the other people of the town were so frightened by what happened that "they begged Jesus to leave their area."
In a similar incident narrated by Mark and by Luke, the man freed from the demons sought out Jesus to thank him and asked to stay with him. "But Jesus sent him away, 'Go back to your family and tell them how much God has done for you.' So the man went away, proclaiming through the whole town how much Jesus had done for him." (Lk 8: 39)
On the other hand, the townsfolk were so frightened they begged Jesus to leave their area: all three accounts in the three Synoptic Gospels told the same reaction of the townsfolk. Rather than joining the previously possessed man in his gratitude and joy at his liberation, perhaps out of selfish fear for themselves, they begged Jesus to go and leave their area. The townsfolk failed to see or refused to see the great thing Jesus had done for one in great need.
Do we appreciate God's continuing goodness to us and to others? Do we thank God for his goodness and graciousness to us? Do we thank God for the goodness of many people around us? Are we at times afraid of God? Why?
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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