Memorial of Saint Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church - 15th July 2017
Reading 1, Genesis 49:29-33; 50:15-24
29 Then he gave them these instructions, 'I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my ancestors, in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
30 in the cave in the field at Machpelah, facing Mamre, in Canaan, which Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a burial site of his own.
32 the field and the cave in it which were bought from the Hittites.'
33 When Jacob had finished giving his instructions to his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, and breathing his last was gathered to his people.
15 Seeing that their father was dead, Joseph's brothers said, 'What if Joseph intends to treat us as enemies and pay us back for all the wrong we did him?'
16 So they sent this message to Joseph: 'Before your father died, he gave us this order:
17 "You are to say to Joseph: Now please forgive the crime and faults of your brothers and all the wrong they did you." So now please forgive the crime of the servants of your father's God.' Joseph wept at the message they sent to him.
18 Then his brothers went to him themselves and, throwing themselves at his feet, said, 'Take us as your slaves!'
19 But Joseph replied, 'Do not be afraid; is it for me to put myself in God's place?
20 The evil you planned to do me has by God's design been turned to good, to bring about the present result: the survival of a numerous people.
21 So there is no need to be afraid; I shall provide for you and your dependants.' In this way he reassured them by speaking affectionately to them.
24 At length Joseph said to his brothers, 'I am about to die; but God will be sure to remember you kindly and take you out of this country to the country which he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.'
The Word of the Lord.
Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7
Be glad you lowly ones; may your hearts be glad!
1 Alleluia! Give thanks to Yahweh, call on his name, proclaim his deeds to the peoples!
2 Sing to him, make music for him, recount all his wonders!
3 Glory in his holy name, let the hearts that seek Yahweh rejoice!
4 Seek Yahweh and his strength, tirelessly seek his presence!
7 He is Yahweh our God, his judgements touch the whole world.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you,
for the Spirit of God rests upon you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel, Matthew 10:24-33
"Fear him who can destroy soul and body in hell"
24 'Disciple is not superior to teacher, nor slave to master.
25 It is enough for disciple to grow to be like teacher, and slave like master. If they have called the master of the house "Beelzebul", how much more the members of his household?
27 What I say to you in the dark, tell in the daylight; what you hear in whispers, proclaim from the housetops.
28 'Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell.
29 Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny? And yet not one falls to the ground without your Father knowing.
30 Why, every hair on your head has been counted.
31 So there is no need to be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
32 'So if anyone declares himself for me in the presence of human beings, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven.
33 But the one who disowns me in the presence of human beings, I will disown in the presence of my Father in heaven.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Reflection: There are fundamentally only two kingdoms in opposition to one another - God's kingdom of light - his truth and righteousness (moral goodness) and Satan's kingdom of darkness - his power to deceive and tempt people to rebel and do what is wrong and evil. And there are no neutral parties - we are either for God's kingdom or against it. We either choose for Jesus and the kingdom he brings - God's rule of peace and righteousness, or we choose for the kingdom of this world which opposes God's truth and righteousness. That is why Jesus told his disciples that they must expect the same treatment of opposition and hostility if they accept him as their Lord (Messiah) and Master (Teacher).
There is both a warning and a privilege in Jesus' statement. Just as Jesus had to carry his cross to suffer and die for us, so every disciple of Christ must bear his or her own cross of suffering for Christ and not try to evade it. To suffer for the Christian faith is to share in the work of Jesus Christ. As one Christian hymn states: Lift high the Cross of Christ! Tread where his feet have trod. The Holy Spirit gives us supernatural power, freedom, and grace to live as disciples of Jesus Christ. Do you trust in God who gives us the strength and perseverance we need to follow his will and to embrace our cross each day for Jesus' sake?
Prayer: "Lord Jesus, it is my joy and privilege to be your disciple. Give me strength and courage to bear any hardship and suffering which may come my way in serving you and obeying your will. May I witness to others the joy of the Gospel - the good news of your kingdom of peace, joy, and righteousness." Amen
Choosing for God's kingdom