Saturday, December 14, 2019

Monday of the Third Week of Lent

Monday of the Third Week of Lent

Today’s Audio Mass Readings – Lectionary: 237

1st Reading – 2 KGS 5:1-15AB

Naaman, the army commander of the king of Aram,
was highly esteemed and respected by his master,
for through him the LORD had brought victory to Aram.
But valiant as he was, the man was a leper.
Now the Arameans had captured in a raid on the land of Israel
a little girl, who became the servant of Naaman’s wife.
“If only my master would present himself to the prophet in Samaria,”
she said to her mistress, “he would cure him of his leprosy.”
Naaman went and told his lord
just what the slave girl from the land of Israel had said.
“Go,” said the king of Aram.
“I will send along a letter to the king of Israel.”
So Naaman set out, taking along ten silver talents,
six thousand gold pieces, and ten festal garments.
To the king of Israel he brought the letter, which read:
“With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you,
that you may cure him of his leprosy.”

When he read the letter,
the king of Israel tore his garments and exclaimed:
“Am I a god with power over life and death,
that this man should send someone to me to be cured of leprosy?
Take note! You can see he is only looking for a quarrel with me!”
When Elisha, the man of God,
heard that the king of Israel had torn his garments,
he sent word to the king:
“Why have you torn your garments?
Let him come to me and find out
that there is a prophet in Israel.”

Naaman came with his horses and chariots
and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house.
The prophet sent him the message:
“Go and wash seven times in the Jordan,
and your flesh will heal, and you will be clean.”
But Naaman went away angry, saying,
“I thought that he would surely come out and stand there
to invoke the LORD his God,
and would move his hand over the spot,
and thus cure the leprosy.
Are not the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar,
better than all the waters of Israel?
Could I not wash in them and be cleansed?”
With this, he turned about in anger and left.

But his servants came up and reasoned with him.
“My father,” they said,
“if the prophet had told you to do something extraordinary,
would you not have done it?
All the more now, since he said to you,
‘Wash and be clean,’ should you do as he said.”
So Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times
at the word of the man of God.
His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

He returned with his whole retinue to the man of God.
On his arrival he stood before him and said,
“Now I know that there is no God in all the earth,
except in Israel.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 42:2, 3; 43:3, 4

R. (see 42:3) Athirst is my soul for the living God. When shall I go and behold the face of God?
As the hind longs for the running waters,
so my soul longs for you, O God.
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God. When shall I go and behold the face of God?
Athirst is my soul for God, the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God. When shall I go and behold the face of God?
Send forth your light and your fidelity;
they shall lead me on
And bring me to your holy mountain,
to your dwelling-place.
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God. When shall I go and behold the face of God?
Then will I go in to the altar of God,
the God of my gladness and joy;
Then will I give you thanks upon the harp,
O God, my God!
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God. When shall I go and behold the face of God?

Verse Before The Gospel – SEE PS 130:5, 7

I hope in the LORD, I trust in his word;
with him there is kindness and plenteous redemption.

Gospel – LK 4:24-30

Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth:
“Amen, I say to you,
no prophet is accepted in his own native place.
Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel
in the days of Elijah
when the sky was closed for three and a half years
and a severe famine spread over the entire land.
It was to none of these that Elijah was sent,
but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon.
Again, there were many lepers in Israel
during the time of Elisha the prophet;
yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”
When the people in the synagogue heard this,
they were all filled with fury.
They rose up, drove him out of the town,
and led him to the brow of the hill
on which their town had been built,
to hurl him down headlong.
But he passed through the midst of them and went away.

Catholic Daily Reflections

Athirst My Soul!

Athirst is my soul for the living God. When shall I go and behold the face of God? (See Psalm 42:3)

What a beautiful statement to be able to make. The word “athirst” is a word not used that often but worth reflecting on all by itself. It reveals a longing and a desire to be quenched not only by God, but by the “Living God!” And to “behold the face of God.”

How often do you long for such a thing? How often do you let the desire for God burn within your soul? This is a wonderful desire and longing to have. In fact, the desire itself is enough to begin bringing great satisfaction and fulfillment in life.

There is a story of an elderly monk who lived his life as a hermit being a priest and chaplain for a group of monastic sisters. This monk lived a very quiet life of solitude, prayer, study and work most of his life. One day, toward the end of his life, he was asked how he enjoyed his life all these years. Immediately and without hesitation his face became radiant and overwhelmed with a deep joy. And he said with the deepest of conviction, “What a glorious life I have! Every day I’m preparing to die.”

This monk had one focus in life. It was a focus on the face of God. Nothing else really mattered. What he longed for and anticipated each and every day was that moment when he would enter into that glorious Beatific Vision and see God face to face. And it was the thought of this that enabled him to press on, day after day, year after year, offering Mass and worshiping God in preparation for that glorious meeting.

What do you thirst for? How would you complete that statement? “Athirst is my soul for…?” For what? Too often we thirst for those things that are so artificial and temporary. We try so hard to be happy and yet we so often fall short. But if we can let our hearts be inflamed with longing for that which is essential, that which we were made for, then everything else in life will fall into place. If God is placed at the center of all our longings, all our hopes and all our desires, we will actually begin to “behold the face of God” here and now. Even the slightest glimpse of God’s glory will satiate us so much that it will transform our whole outlook on life and give us a clear and certain direction in all we do. Every relationship will be affected, every decision we make will be orchestrated by the Holy Spirit, and the purpose and meaning of life we are searching for will be discovered. Every time we think about our lives we will become radiant as we ponder the journey we are on and long to put it into full motion anticipating the eternal reward awaiting us in the end.

Reflect, today, upon your “thirst.” Don’t waste your life on empty promises. Don’t get caught up in earthly attachments. Seek God. Seek His face. Seek His will and His glory and you will never want to turn back from the direction this longing takes you.

Jesus, may I one day behold Your full splendor and glory. May I see Your face and make that goal the center of my life. May everything I am be caught up in this burning desire and may I bask in the joy of this journey. Jesus, I trust in You.

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