Boniface, bishop and martyr
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I come before you humbly. As one who has frequently fallen into sin, I am aware of my weakness. Your great love, though, assures me that your grace can keep me on the path to holiness.
Petition: Let me see more clearly, Lord, what you are asking of me. Let me know what you want me to give back to you and to others.
1. Stand Corrected. Being corrected hurts. Being corrected in public hurts even more. And having one´s whole way of life corrected -- well, that really stings. And so it must have been for the group of leaders who approached Jesus. Our Lord, in a not-so-subtle way, tells them that they are wrong. Wrong about their self-righteousness, wrong about their narrow reading of Scripture, and wrong about how they think God works in the world. This blinded them to the Son of God when he came among them. We like to think we would have been different ― we would not have rejected Jesus, we tell ourselves. Are we so sure? Aren´t we really like the leaders of Jesus´ time when we fail to listen to his agents ― a bishop, a parish priest, a legitimate superior? Have I said no to him lately?
2. "Another Servant." God doesn´t give up on us after one try. He often sends a number of messengers into our lives to draw us closer to him. Such is the illogic of a Father´s love. Where do we miss the clues that God sends us? It could be in something a child says, a line from a homily, an e-mail from a friend in crisis ― these are the ordinary means God uses to reach out to us. Old Testament prophets faced rejection by the people of God. Have things changed much? Could I be turning a deaf ear to a prophet?
3. "This Is the Heir." The tenant farmers don´t seem very bright. They murder the son in order to get his inheritance. What father would give an inheritance to someone who killed his son? It doesn´t make sense. Then again, sin doesn´t make sense either. Many times we reject Christ in our life and then wonder why our prayers to God the Father go (seemingly) unanswered. What could we be thinking? How often do I offer up a sacrifice or an act of charity for a prayer intention?
Dialogue with Christ: Let me live up to the demands of my faith, Lord. Let me realize that my dignity as a Christian demands that I try to live a life worthy of my baptism ― that I not be satisfied living like everyone else.
Resolution: I will offer up a decade of the Rosary for a family member who is far from the faith.
2 Peter 1:2-7 / Mk 12:1-12
Life is a wonderful gift - no doubt about it! And most of us regularly thank the good Lord for giving us this gift which we could never earn or merit. But sometimes life can get very complicated and our calm confidence can get rattled or even shaken to the core.
It may be a crisis of certifiably major proportions, but more often it's just a convergence of lots of little things, a scraped fender, a sick child, a checkbook that won't balance, a water heater that burst at the worst possible moment. By themselves none of them is life threatening, to say the least. But when they come together, they can push us over the edge and leave us feeling not just weary but truly overwhelmed.
When those moments come, as they do to us all, we need to look past our feelings of inadequacy and desperation, and remember what St. Peter tells us in today's epistle. The Lord has already bestowed upon us everything we need in order to face whatever challenges life serves up. The essence of the Lord's gift is the Holy Spirit who dwells silently within the heart of every one of us.
The Spirit can give us both the wisdom and the strength we need to make the best of each day, no matter what that day brings. Trust the Holy Spirit within you, and you will live in peace, even when storms rage all around you. Trust the Spirit, follow the Spirit's lead, and you will never lose your way.