Jeremiah proclaims the truth that God will bring a remnant of faithful Israel back from the exile in Assyria. This is cause for rejoicing! Just as a father welcomes back a son who has been lost, the Lord is gathering the people of Israel from exile and leading them back home. When we are lost in the exile of sin, we too should look for the Father who forgives our iniquities. He will never be too far away that we cannot turn back to Him. Let us pray for the grace to leave our sin behind and return to the Lord.
7 For thus says the LORD: Shout with joy for Jacob, exult at the head of the nations; proclaim your praise and say: The LORD has delivered his people, the remnant of Israel. 8 Behold, I will bring them back from the land of the north; I will gather them from the ends of the world, with the blind and the lame in their midst, the mothers and those with child; they shall return as an immense throng. 9 They departed in tears, but I will console them and guide them; I will lead them to brooks of water, on a level road, so that none shall stumble. For I am a father to Israel, Ephraim is my first-born.
P S A L M
Psalm 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6
R: The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
1 When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion, we were like men dreaming. 2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with rejoicing. (R) Then they said among the nations, ?The LORD has done great things for them.? 3 The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad indeed. (R) 4 Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like the torrents in the southern desert. 5 Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing. (R) 6 Although they go forth weeping, carrying the seed to be sown, they shall come back rejoicing, carrying their sheaves. (R)
Like salvation, glory and honor are gifts bestowed upon us by others and most importantly by God! We cannot earn our salvation through good works. Similarly, if we seek recognition in the Kingdom of God, it is something that will come only through our response to the grace of God at work in our lives. This means that everything we have that is good is ultimately reliant upon God?s love and good will towards us. Let us pray that we will use well the gifts and graces that God has given us, particularly those that are directed towards the benefit of others.
1 Every high priest is taken from among men and made their representative before God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring, for he himself is beset byweakness 3 and so, for this reason, must make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people. 4 No one takes this honor upon himself but only when called by God, just as Aaron was. 5 In the same way, it was not Christ who glorified himself in becoming high priest, but rather the one who said to him: ?You are my son; this day I have begotten you?; 6 just as he says in another place: ?You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.?
G O S P E L
The action of God?s grace in our lives ought to be followed by our response to that grace. Here we read about a blind man healed by Jesus and, on receiving his sight through a miracle that Jesus works, the once blind man immediately follows Him along the road. There is no destination mentioned. It is enough for this man to go wherever Jesus goes as He recognizes that just to be with Him is a great place to be! Let us seek to follow Jesus wherever He might lead us. Even when we are unsure of the immediate destination, we can be sure that Jesus will lead us along the path of eternal life.
46 They came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. 47 On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, ?Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.? 48 And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, ?Son of David, have pity on me.? 49 Jesus stopped and said, ?Call him.? So they called the blind man, saying to him, ?Take courage; get up, he is calling you.? 50 He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. 51 Jesus said to him in reply, ?What do you want me to do for you?? The blind man replied to him, ?Master, I want to see.? 52 Jesus told him, ?Go your way; your faith has saved you.? Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.
think: When we are lost in the exile of sin, we too should look for the Father who forgives our iniquities. He will never be too far away.
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READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Luke 1
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GETTING TO KNOW THE SAINTS
St. Peter Claver
Missioner to Slaves (1581 - 1654)
?Deeds come first, then the words.?
Peter Claver was a Spanish Jesuit who was sent to Cartagena (now in Colombia) in 1610. Cartagena was then a great port of entry for African slaves. Ten thousand arrived every year to work in the mines (work considered too onerous for the native Indians). The conditions of their journey in this ?middle passage? were unspeakably atrocious. The slaves were packed in dark holds like cordwood, chained together, lying in their own filth, fed no more than was sufficient to keep them alive. Perhaps a third of all those who embarked from Africa failed to survive the journey. To the wretched souls who remained Peter Claver devoted his life.
With news of the arrival of each fresh slave ship, Claver would make his way to the dock and talk his way past the captain to gain access to the ?cargo.? There he would move among the dazed and half-dead Africans, treating their wounds and distributing food and drink. With the help of interpreters and pictures, he would also try to communicate something of the principles of Christianity. How this was received is difficult to imagine, given that Christianity was ostensibly the religion of the slave masters. Nevertheless, Claver tried to instill in the slaves a sense of their human dignity and their preciousness in the eyes of God. This in itself represented a subtle subversion of the principles of the slave trade. Claver often confronted angry opposition from business and civil authorities who suspected that his ministry was undermining their lucrative commerce. Claver was tireless in his efforts. It is reported that during a career of forty years, he baptized over three hundred thousand slaves. He tried as best he could to follow them to the mines and the plantations, where he continued to intercede for them and to look after their material and spiritual welfare. At one point he called himself ?the slave of the Negroes forever.?
In 1650 Claver was struck by an outbreak of plague. He survived, but was left physically helpless. He remained in his cell, virtually alone and in a shocking state of neglect. He died on September 8, 1654. The city and the church, which had treated him with reserve (if not disdain), now competed to honor his memory. He was canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1888. His feast is celebrated on September 9.