The Word of God

Rock And A Hard Place

Reflection on Mass Reading for August 8, 2019

The Scripture passage in our First Reading today speaks directly about the new covenant that God wishes to extend to the chosen people: “Take your staff and assemble the community, you and your brother Aaron, and in their presence order the rock to yield its waters.”  It should not be of any surprise that the Lord seeks and wants to save and protect us all by “writing the law upon our hearts.” However, this is not a random, lifeless or two-dimensional gift of rules and regulations. The Reading closes with this powerful suggestion about how this covenant is to be lived and followed  for the rest of time. “These are the waters of Meribah, where the children of Israel contended against the LORD, and where the LORD revealed his sanctity among them.”

“And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” Today we celebrate the great promise that we as the people of God, the Church, are to be lovingly and essentially part of the covenant literally from here to eternity. This brings us to the completely jubilant truth that God wants, desires and continues to rescue us. However, out of an impetuous and impulsive response to the promise of suffering and carrying the cross, Peter did not want his Lord to suffer. “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” This is an example of a fledgling, growing faith in its very early stages. It certainly reminds us all of our journey towards the Father. It also assures us that we can find the hope of change in our own personalities when we find that our faith is tested. Let us today with these great helpings of Scripture find the courage and motivation to shake free of meanness and weakness and give Jesus the glory in this life as we wait to see Him face to face in the next. Today we are given the choice of finding the opportunities to grow or be an obstacle to a deeper existence with the Lord. May we all choose a clean heart: “Give me back the joy of your salvation, and a willing spirit sustain in me.”

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