July 16, 2019 – Tuesday 15th Week in Ordinary Time
Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
From the Book of Exodus (2:1-15a)
A certain man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman,
who conceived and bore a son.
Seeing that he was a goodly child, she hid him for three months.
When she could hide him no longer, she took a papyrus basket,
daubed it with bitumen and pitch,
and putting the child in it,
placed it among the reeds on the river bank.
His sister stationed herself at a distance
to find out what would happen to him.
Pharaoh’s daughter came down to the river to bathe,
while her maids walked along the river bank.
Noticing the basket among the reeds, she sent her handmaid to fetch it.
On opening it, she looked, and lo, there was a baby boy, crying!
She was moved with pity for him and said,
“It is one of the Hebrews’ children.”
Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter,
“Shall I go and call one of the Hebrew women
to nurse the child for you?”
“Yes, do so,” she answered.
So the maiden went and called the child’s own mother.
Pharaoh’s daughter said to her,
“Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will repay you.”
The woman therefore took the child and nursed it.
When the child grew, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter,
who adopted him as her son and called him Moses;
for she said, “I drew him out of the water.”
On one occasion, after Moses had grown up,
when he visited his kinsmen and witnessed their forced labor,
he saw an Egyptian striking a Hebrew, one of his own kinsmen.
Looking about and seeing no one,
he slew the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.
The next day he went out again, and now two Hebrews were fighting!
So he asked the culprit,
“Why are you striking your fellow Hebrew?”
But the culprit replied,
“Who has appointed you ruler and judge over us?
Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?”
Then Moses became afraid and thought,
“The affair must certainly be known.”
Pharaoh, too, heard of the affair and sought to put Moses to death.
But Moses fled from him and stayed in the land of Midian.
From the Gospel of Matthew (11:20-24)
Jesus began to reproach the towns
where most of his mighty deeds had been done,
since they had not repented.
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the mighty deeds done in your midst
had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.
And as for you, Capernaum:
Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the netherworld.
For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom,
it would have remained until this day.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”
Jesus was very disappointed at the response of the people. Three places were mentioned such as Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum to have been the places where Jesus did many wonderful things. Miracles were performed as God’s sign of blessing and presence. Yet, Jesus found the heart of the people hardened. The people refused God’s offer of friendship.
They did not want to be disturbed from what they were usually doing. They were just satisfied with the kind of life that they were leading. Thus, God’s invitation for them to change became a threat to what was comfortable, advantageous and beneficial for them.
This is the reason why Jesus gave the uncompromising warning to these people because of their refusal of God’s offer of salvation, and that is, damnation.
Many times also we will find ourselves in this kind of situation. We easily take for granted the everyday miracles that happen in our life. As a result, we become ungrateful in the way we live our life, in the way we relate with others and even in the way we relate with God. And from these, there are three reasons that I see on why we would hold back and refuse God.
First, is the refusal to admit and recognize that there is something wrong in us, in the way we live our life, and in the way we relate with people around us. Unacceptance of our faults means distancing ourselves from the responsibility. This attitude will make us self-righteous, thus, making us blind of our own sins.
Second, is the confidence of being self-satisfied. When we are filled with ourselves, filled with our selfish desires and wants, we also become self-satisfied. When this happens, we will not realize that we are also in need of God. This attitude comes from the tendency that tries to accumulate more for the self. The forms of accumulation is not just limited with our desire to enrich ourselves with material things but also, praises and recognitions from others, or even forms of compulsive behaviors and addictions. These forms of accumulation make ourselves busy and filled with many things, consequently, preventing God to occupy a space in our life.
Third, is being ungrateful. A self that refuses to admit sins and self-satisfied also becomes ungrateful. When we become ungrateful, we easily take for granted the giver of gifts and the worker of miracles, and thus, the presence of God in our life. With this attitude, we also become self-entitled. We become demanding in our relationships. We become critical of those people around us and we tend to only see what is wrong in the other person. We will become stingy of our time and energy and ungenerous of our resources and presence to those who are asking for our help. And most of all, we become indifferent to people around us and indifferent to God, the source of all blessings and miracles.
Yet, we learned also today that there was this man who was more attuned to God’s desire rather than his own selfish wants. The story that we have heard in the first reading tells us of this man called Moses.
Moses, even though he had a tragic history in his childhood, he was a man of generosity and justice. He was a grateful person who delighted at the wonders around him. Despite his comfortable upbringing as he was adopted by the daughter of the Pharaoh and was living as a prince, Moses had a deep sense of justice. This made Moses to be sensitive to the cruelty happening around him. He could neither stand the sight an Egyptian oppressing a Hebrew slave nor a slave beating to death another slave. This prepares Moses to become God’s instrument in liberating the people from slavery and oppression.
This is what Jesus desires us to be. The Lord has blessed us and shown us many wonders to invite us to become the person he wants us to be. Thus, the invitation for us today is to be more aware of the many blessings and miracles God is doing for us today.
Hopefully, by recognizing God’s blessings and miracles in our life, it will lead us the three movements. First, to humble ourselves by recognizing our failures and need for mercy and forgiveness. Second, by recognizing our emptiness and so of our need of God to fill our empty hearts. And third, by becoming grateful to the many good things that God has given us making ourselves more aware of his presence and sensitive to the needs around us.
May Mary, the Lady of Mount Carmel be our guide and example in this desire to come closer to her Son, Jesus through our daily and continual conversion. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR