Daily Reflection – Sep 9, 2018
Sunday 9 September 2018
First Reading: IS 35:4-7A
Praise the Lord, my soul!
PS 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10
Second Reading: JAS 2:1-5
Gospel Reading: MK 7:31-37
Today’s Note: Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Again Jesus left the district of Tyre
and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee,
into the district of the Decapolis.
And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment
and begged him to lay his hand on him.
He took him off by himself away from the crowd.
He put his finger into the man’s ears
and, spitting, touched his tongue;
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
“Ephphatha!”— that is, “Be opened!” —
And immediately the man’s ears were opened,
his speech impediment was removed,
and he spoke plainly.
He ordered them not to tell anyone.
But the more he ordered them not to,
the more they proclaimed it.
They were exceedingly astonished and they said,
“He has done all things well.
He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
The burning sands will become pools. (Isaiah 35:7)
Isaiah’s promises seem extravagant, don’t they? If we look at them literally, they are quite marvelous. God will permanently alter the Holy Land itself. If we read these verses spiritually, the promises become even more inspiring: God is promising to alter us at the very center of our hearts. This is exactly what he has done too. He has made us a new creation! But for all the generosity he has shown us, God still asks us to come and receive his grace. He still asks us to settle ourselves in his presence so that he can fill us up.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux, a twelfth-century monk from France, explained it this way:
The man who is wise . . . will see his life as more like a reservoir than a canal. The canal simultaneously pours out what it receives; the reservoir retains the water until it is filled, then discharges the overflow without loss to itself. . . . You too must learn to await this fullness before pouring out your gifts. Do not try to be more generous than God.
God never intended us to be a “canal,” always giving away whatever we receive, never holding onto anything for ourselves. No, he wants to take care of us—day after day after day. He knows that if we can learn to be like “reservoirs,” not only will we become more joyful and peaceful, but we will also become more effective in caring for the people around us.
We pour ourselves out every day: for our children, for our aging parents, for our coworkers, and for our neighbors. But if we spend all of our time taking care of everyone else, we’ll end up physically exhausted and spiritually depleted.
There’s nothing wrong with taking five or ten minutes each day to soak up the love and mercy of God. There’s nothing wrong with becoming a reservoir instead of a canal. God’s extravagant promises are for you just as much as they are for everyone else.
“Here I am, Lord. Come and fill me up!”