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Monday, August 10, 2020

2020-08-10 Tuesday 19th Week in Ordinary Time – St Claire of Assisi

Ezekiel 2:8-3:4; Psalm 119; Matthew 18:1-5, 10, 12-14
In the First Reading, God told Ezekiel to eat the scroll he gives Ezekiel four times:
  1. Open your mouth and eat what I give you.
  2. Eat what is offered to you
  3. Eat this scroll and go, speak to the house of Israel.
  4. Eat this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach.
After these commands, God commissioned Ezekiel: go to the house of Israel and speak my very words to them. This shows us that we can only speak the words of God when we feed ourselves with it. I may think I know a lot about God or Christ. But in truth, even if I can quote Scripture, I do not actually know God nor Christ if I do not eat what God gives me. I may study Scripture or know Scripture intellectually, but if the food I eat is from human intelligence and is not from God, then I will never speak what God wants me to say. This is why Jesus said to the scribes and Pharisees who were experts of Scripture: You are mistaken because you do not know Scripture nor the power of God. We can only know Scripture and the power of God when we eat what God gives and not what man gives.
We know what we eat is from God because it is sweet or pleasant. It leads us to what is sweet, meaning, good for us. This does not mean that anything that sounds sweet is from God. We need to look at the result of what is taught to us. Jesus said in today’s Gospel: unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. If what is taught to us transforms us and leads us to trust God, surrender to him and love him, then what we hear is from God. St Claire said We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become. If I love God, then he shapes me  to become like him. But if what we hear encourages us to continue in sin, to reject God, then it is from men, even if the words are eloquent. The teaching that leads to repentance is from God, while teaching that does not lead us to change and become like children is not from God. Jesus says clearly, we need to change AND become like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven.
We celebrate Claire of Assisi today. She cofounded the Order of Poor Ladies or Clares and was instrumental in guiding the Franciscan order after Francis died. When she was old and sick, she was able to prevent an army of moors from assaulting Assisi by rising from her sick bed, taking the Ciborium with the Blessed Hosts and face the invaders at an open window where they had a ladder ready to enter the city. As she raised the Ciborium the soldiers fell backwards, dazed and they retreated. This incident shows the childlike trust of St Clarie on Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and not in human effort.
Lord, here I am, your child. Feed me with your Word. Teach me with your Word. I only want what comes from you and not from men. I want to change and be like a child, to trust your Word completely. St Claire, pray that I may have the courage to repent and trust in Jesus. Teach me to have confidence in him alone.

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