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Friday, July 15, 2005

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St. Bonaventure

Exodus 11:10—12:14
Psalm 116
Matthew 12:1-8

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mass exodus

"To You will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving." —Psalm 116:17

Try skipping all three meals today. How will your body feel tomorrow? Yet why should it be a problem to skip meals today? After all, today is just one day. What difference should one day without food make when you eat regularly every other day? The obvious answer is that our bodies are created to cry out in hunger for food when deprived of nourishment for even a short time.

Many people will skip Mass today. Some wish to attend and are unable, but most simply have no desire to go to daily Mass. Yet God created our spirits to hunger and thirst for spiritual nourishment even more so than our bodies desire food. So why do many folks seem to feel no spiritual hunger if they miss Mass for even one week?

Many are so emaciated spiritually that they don't realize they are spiritually starving to death. This spiritual emaciation causes a spiritual numbness, which fosters a spiritual indifference, marked by the refusal to give thanks to God (see Rm 1:21ff). Mass is centered on the Eucharist, a word which means "thanksgiving." In a very real way, a thankless posture toward God can lead to spiritual death.

After the Exodus, the Israelites joyfully thanked and praised God (Ex 15:1ff). They even changed their calendars so they would never forget to thank Him regularly (Ex 12:2). Let's be like the Israelites and rearrange our schedules and lifestyles so that we give top priority to thanking God. Take the cup of salvation (Ps 116:12). Center your life on the Mass and greet the Lord daily with thanksgiving (Ps 95:2).

Prayer:  Father, You give me bread from heaven (Jn 6:32-33). May I desire greatly to eat this bread daily the rest of my life.

Promise:  "It is mercy I desire and not sacrifice." —Mt 12:7

Praise:  In being fed by God, St. Bonaventure, in turn, fed others, especially through his gentleness, courtesy, and compassion.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 20, 2004

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