Tue, 17 March 2020
O steadfast teacher of the faith
whom exile could not keep
from proclaiming the truths
of Scripture and the Church,
whose pastoral zeal
to the blessed chamber
of our divine Lord Jesus Christ
that we might unite with Him
who united Himself with us
to draw us unto Heaven –
pray that the shepherds of the Church
shall be just so diligent
as you have consistently been
in imparting the Word of God
to waiting ears and hearts,
that all might be nourished well
and so prepared
to meet our King and Bridegroom,
grace upon grace
overflowing in souls
led by the Spirit of Truth.
Tue, 17 March 2020
(Dt.4:1,5-9; Ps.147:12-13,15-16,19-20; Mt.5:17-19)
“What great nation has statutes and decrees
that are as just as this whole law?”
“He has proclaimed His word to Jacob, His statutes and ordinances to Israel.” The Lord in His grace “sends forth His command to the earth; swiftly runs His word!” And as the snow and the rain come down to nourish the land, to bring life to the earth, so His Word is food and life to all who listen to it. By His Word He “strengthen[s] the bars of [our] gates,” giving us protection against the tribulations of this world, and by it He “bless[es] [our] children within” us, making fruitful all our endeavors. By fulfilling and teaching His commands, we find life eternal in the kingdom of God; by breaking them and leading others to do so, we court death.
And so why should the Word be withheld from the ears of the flock? By his silence does not a priest give credence to the breaking of the law? And then are not the results upon his soul? Has the devil so blinded his eyes to the truth that he cannot see the life-giving water the Word of God is, that His commands are not burdensome but bring release from labor under the weight of sin? By withholding such nourishment does he hope to increase his flock? Oh but it is so hard to open my mouth, you say, so difficult to speak the truth. Better you die to self now than to find your soul dead to the kingdom of heaven.
Brothers and sisters, it is fulfilling “the smallest letter of the law… the smallest part of the letter,” that brings us to perfection, that brings us to the life that is our God. Ignorance shall not bring you there. As Moses instructs of the commands of the Lord, “Observe them carefully, for thus you will give evidence of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations.” For they are a great gift made known to souls; they are the fountain of life, fulfilled in the flesh of Jesus. So neither practice them in vain “nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live,” for they hold life, and should you lose them, you shall lose the Christ.
Do you desire holiness? Do you wish to be whole? Do you long for the presence of God, thirsting for His truth? Then follow the Word He speaks in your presence today and teach others to do so: Abortion is wrong. Contraception is wrong. Euthanasia is wrong. Premarital sex is wrong. Love of money and goods is deadly. We have the word in our Church – our mouths must speak it, or we shall die. By our Baptism we are all made priests in the sight of God and are called to live and to preach the Word of God. “What great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the Lord, our God, is to us whenever we call upon Him” or whenever we come to His table of sacrifice to receive Him? In love make His Word and presence known.
O LORD, though good be repaid with evil,
we shall rise on the third day
if we remain united to the sacrifice of your Son.
YHWH, though persecutions come, as they must, we trust ourselves into your hands knowing that your protection is with us, knowing that as your Son was raised on the third day, our suffering shall soon come to an end and we stand with you in your kingdom. Give us faith and strength in your abiding presence, despite the whisperings of the crowd.
The people plotted to take the life of your prophets and your Son. A pit is dug for all your faithful, LORD. But that pit is shallow as this passing world; only your eternity remains. And so, let us not fear as we drink the cup Jesus offers us, the cup He Himself drank upon the Cross; for as we lay down our lives in this world, sharing in the sacrifice of Christ, so we shall be blessed to know the glory to which you call all your faithful servants.
Our trust is in you, O LORD, for you are our God. Save us from the snares of the devil.