Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 25.09.2023
EZRA 1: 1 – 6
In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing: “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of the Lord, the God of Israel — he is the God who is in Jerusalem; and let each survivor, in whatever place he sojourns, be assisted by the men of his place with silver and gold, with goods and with beasts, besides free will offerings for the house of God which is in Jerusalem.” Then rose up the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, every one whose spirit God had stirred to go up to rebuild the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem; and all who were about them aided them with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, with beasts, and with costly wares, besides all that was freely offered.
The Word of the Lord.
Psalm 126: 1 – 2ab, 2cd – 3, 4 – 5, 6 (R.) 3a
R/. What great deeds the Lord has worked for us!
When the Lord brought back the exiles of Sion,
we thought we were dreaming.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter;
on our tongues, songs of joy. R/.
Then the nations themselves said,
“What great deeds
the Lord worked for them!”
What great deeds the Lord worked for us!
Indeed, we were glad. R/.
Bring back our exiles, O Lord,
As streams in the south.
Those who are sowing in tears
will sing when they reap. R/.
They go out, they go out, full of tears,
bearing seed for the sowing;
they come back, they come back with a song,
bearing their sheaves. R/.
Matthew 5: 16
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father.
Place your light on a stand that those who enter may see the light.
LUKE 8: 16 – 18
At that time: Jesus said to the crowds, “No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a vessel, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that shall not be made manifest, nor anything secret that shall not be known and come to light. Take heed then how you hear; for to him who has will more be given, and from him who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Growth in Understanding
September 25, 2023
“Take care, then, how you hear. To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away.” (Luke 8:18)
Do you have much? Or little? According to Jesus’ words, if you have much, then you will receive much more; but if you have little, then you will lose even what you have. Does this seem fair?
Of course, our Lord is not speaking in worldly terms. He’s not saying that if you have much money, then you will gain more, or if you are poor, then you will become poorer. Instead, Jesus is speaking about the grace that comes from understanding His holy Word. Notice that the passage above begins by saying, “Take care, then, how you hear.”
To “hear” the Word of God implies that you truly receive what Jesus teaches. Hearing is not just hearing the words spoken with your ears. One early Church Father, Saint Bede, explains that truly hearing the Word of God with our minds leads us to love that Word, and loving the Word leads to understanding. This is not accomplished by an intellectual exercise alone, as if our natural gifts are the primary means by which we comprehend all that Jesus teaches. Rather, it comes through spiritual insight gained by the supernatural gift of the Spirit Who teaches us all things.
If you want “more” understanding of the mysteries of God, then commit yourself to engaging the holy Scriptures with your mind. Read the Scriptures, ponder them and pray with them. It’s easy to forget that the Word of God is a Living Word. This means that when we prayerfully immerse ourselves in the Scriptures, we are prayerfully encountering God Himself. God is alive in His holy Word. We meet Him, personally, and this happens only by a special grace that we must be open to receive.
The beautiful aspect of this teaching of Jesus is that the more we understand His Word by this grace, the more we will immerse ourselves in it, and it will continue to grow within us. If, however, we devote little time to engaging the Word of God in prayer, we will begin to “forget,” so to speak, the spiritual depths of the wisdom of God. We will lose the little understanding we have and when this happens, we will be prone to engaging and accepting the many confusions and deceptions alive in our world.
Reflect, today, upon your practice of prayerfully meditating upon the Scriptures. If this is not your current practice, resolve to make it so. Perhaps start with one of the Gospels and commit yourself to prayerfully reading it little by little every day. The goal is not to get through the books of the Bible. The goal is to enter into each book. Every chapter and every line provides us with a depth of spiritual insight and understanding just waiting to be given and received. Commit yourself to this holy practice, and you will be amazed at the spiritual riches our Lord bestows upon you.
_Living Word of God, my Lord and my King, I thank You for the way in which You come to me and all Your children through Your written Word. Fill me with a love for that Word so that I will daily engage my mind in the deep truths revealed within it. May I meet You, dear Lord, and grow in an understanding of Who You are and what You wish to reveal to me. Jesus, I trust in You.