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Saturday, June 27, 2020

Reflection 2020-06-27 Saturday 12th Week in Ordinary Time (St Cyril of Alexandria)

Lamentations 2:2, 10-14, 18-19; Psalm 74; Matthew 8:5-17
When this lockdown started, I began reading the Book of Lamentations and a verse in today’s First Reading struck me: Your prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions, they have not exposed your iniquity to restore your fortunes, but have seen oracles for you that are false and misleading. While the pandemic is not caused by God, I see this as God’s way of purifying his Church. For decades, the prophets within the Church, the Shepherds, their teachers and preachers, have preached error. They have given false visions that do not expose the sins of the people. They have tolerated sin by refusing to speak against it. An example of this is the sexual abuse of clergy especially, against young boys and seminarians. The Bishops and priests knew about this and did not expose it, instead, hid them. By doing so, they encouraged sin. Today, there are many moral issues the Church faces, and still our prophets remain silent. They refuse to condemn sin and instead, preach an impotent message: one of good works without faith, one that refuses even to mention the name of Jesus, one that brings down God to the level of other gods. When Evangelical preachers, Protestants, Muslims and Jews speak out against evils of society and Catholic “shepherds” remain silent, then we know there is something wrong with the leaders of the Church.
So what is a Catholic to do? The First Reading continues: Cry aloud to the Lord! … Let tears stream down like a torrent day and night! Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the watches! Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord! Lift your hands to him for the lives of your children. We cry out to God and pray. We repent even if our leaders will not tell us about our sins. We learn about our faith, learning what our Church has continuously taught, rather than listen to prophets who have false visions. This is the only way to know the Messiah of the Gospel. We need to be responsible for our faith and not rely on what others teach. Read the Scripture and learn as the centurion does in today’s Gospel Reading, that Jesus only has to say the word and things will happen, that Jesus is God made man, who willingly took on flesh so we can believe and have eternal life.
Jesus says in Matthew 23, the scribes and Pharisees sit on the Chair of Moses observe all they say but do not do what they do. At this point in the history of the Church, we have leaders who sit on the Chair of authority. We respect them for their office. But we need to discern what they teach. While before, Catholics rely on their pastors to point the way to salvation, we need to understand that we are responsible for our own salvation. We need to read Scripture, learn what our Church Fathers teach us through the centuries. Discern which preacher can be trusted, and listen to them.
St Cyril reminds us to always stand for the truth. He lived in the 4th century at a time when many deny the union of the divinity and humanity of Christ. They believe that the divine nature and human nature of Christ cannot be united. St Cyril stood his ground and defended the perfect union of the divine and human natures of Christ, which led to the Council of Ephesus declaring Mary as the Mother of God or Theotokos, which means God bearer. 1 John 4 clearly tells us Do not believe every spirit but test all spirits if they are from God because many false prophets have gone into the world. By this do we know the Spirit of God: Every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not of God. And this is Antichrist, of whom you have heard that he comes and is now already in the world. St Cyril was one of those who stood for the Truth about Jesus. Let us learn from him, learn of Jesus, love Jesus, and stand for Jesus.
Lord, in the midst of all these chaos and darkness, be my light. My world is dark because of the pandemic, it is even darker because of the confusion being taught by prophets who have false visions. Give me your Spirit that I may know who you really are. Let me realize the power of your Name, the Name above every other name, whose Word brings things into being, who became flesh and dwelt with us. Come Lord, enter my life take flesh in my life so there will be light in the midst of the darkness. St Cyril of Alexandria, pray for me. Mary, Theotokos, lead me to Jesus.

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