Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Memorial of Saint Anthony Abbot – Year C

Memorial of Saint Anthony Abbot – Year C

Today’s Audio Mass Readings – Lectionary: 308

1st Reading – HEB 3:7-14

The Holy Spirit says:
Oh, that today you would hear his voice,
“Harden not your hearts as at the rebellion
in the day of testing in the desert,
where your ancestors tested and tried me
and saw my works for forty years.
Because of this I was provoked with that generation
and I said, ‘They have always been of erring heart,
and they do not know my ways.’
As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter into my rest.'”
Take care, brothers and sisters,
that none of you may have an evil and unfaithful heart,
so as to forsake the living God.
Encourage yourselves daily while it is still “today,”
so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin.
We have become partners of Christ
if only we hold the beginning of the reality firm until the end.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 95:6-7C, 8-9, 10-11

R. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works.”
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Forty years I was wearied of that generation;
I said: “This people’s heart goes astray,
they do not know my ways.”
Therefore I swore in my anger:
“They shall never enter my rest.”
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Alleluia – SEE MT 4:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 1:40-45

A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said,
“If you wish, you can make me clean.”
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand,
touched the leper, and said to him,
“I do will it. Be made clean.”
The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.
Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once.
Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything,
but go, show yourself to the priest
and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed;
that will be proof for them.”
The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter.
He spread the report abroad
so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.
He remained outside in deserted places,
and people kept coming to him from everywhere.

Catholic Daily Reflections

Catholic Audio Gospel Reflections

It’s About Conversion, Not Popularity

Saint Anthony of Egypt, Abbot

The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere. Mark 1:44-45

The man who went away and “began to publicize the whole matter” did so understandably. He had been suffering from the awful disease of leprosy and most likely was losing hope. He came to Jesus, knelt down humbly before Him and expressed his profound faith. He said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Jesus, of course, did wish to make him clean and immediately healed the leper.

What’s interesting is that, after healing the man, Jesus told him not to tell anyone. But, in his excitement, the man went off telling everyone. The result was that Jesus’ fame and reputation exploded and curiosity about Him spread everywhere. People sought Him out with such interest that, as this passage says above, “It was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.”

This story should naturally raise a few questions in our minds. One interesting fact to ponder is that Jesus appeared to have no interest in being “popular.” He could have easily went from town to town and, as He entered a new town, announced, “Attention everyone…I am here!” People would have immediately flocked to Him. But, instead of embracing His instant fame, He went off to deserted places. People came to Him in these hard-to-get-to deserted places.

Jesus went off to deserted places waiting for people to seek Him out because His life was all about fostering authentic conversion of souls, not cultural popularity. He wasn’t interested in the esteem of worldly opinion, He was only interested in changing hearts. Therefore, by withdrawing into deserted places, He was able to let the Father in Heaven bring to Him those who were open to authentic conversion.

The same is true with us. The “popular Jesus” is not always the “real Jesus.” In other words, the authentic Gospel message is not normally that which our popular culture will hold up as exciting. Jesus and His authentic Gospel message will not always make headlines in the national news. Rather, if we want to find Him, we must diligently seek Him in the hidden and quiet places where He waits for us.

Reflect, today, upon the image of Jesus waiting for you in the silence. Where is that silent “deserted place” in which He waits? Where is He waiting for you to come and meet Him? Seek Him out and when you do discover Him, you will be eternally grateful that you made the effort.

Lord, I do seek You, but I also realize that I never seek You enough. You are there, waiting for me in countless ways. You are calling me into a deeper silence and solitude. In the deserted places of life, You desire to minister to my soul. Help me to listen to You and to make the journey to You. And as I find You, help me to truly embrace the conversion of heart You have in mind for me. Jesus, I trust in You.

Our Audio Catholic Daily Readings are sourced from USCCB 

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About Laban Thua 1020 Articles
I am a Commissioned Liturgy Minister and also a Lector at Assumption of Mary Catholic Church. Am also a Commissioned Catholic Men Association (CMA), Member and a Lover of the Catholic Church and its teachings. My passion is disseminating the Catholic Daily Readings and Reflections, Bible Verse of the Day, Catholic Quote of the Day and Catholic Saint of the Day Information every day to all Catholic Faithfuls throughout the world.