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Thursday, July 24, 2008

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St. Sharbel Makhluf

Jeremiah 2:1-3, 7-8, 12-13
Psalm 36
Matthew 13:10-17

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sow and tell

"Isaiah's prophecy is fulfilled in them which says: 'Listen as you will, you shall not understand, look intently as you will, you shall not see. Sluggish indeed is this people's heart. They have scarcely heard with their ears, they have firmly closed their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn back to Me, and I should heal them.' " —Matthew 13:14-15

The above passage is a Scripture quote from Isaiah 6:9-10. Isaiah had seen a vision of God, was purified, and accepted God's call to be His prophet (Is 6:1-8). Upon saying his 'Yes' to God, the Lord spoke the above words to Isaiah. In essence, God told Isaiah that by faithfully prophesying an understandable message, it would be as if Isaiah was causing obstinacy rather than repentance. Isaiah 6:9-10 is quoted no less than five times in the New Testament (Mt 13:14-15; Mk 4:12; Lk 8:10; Jn 12:40; Acts 28:26-27), making it one of the most quoted Old Testament passages.

Jesus is reminding us that we must be faithful to God's calling to spread His word, regardless of the results. We must go out and sow, no matter what (Mt 13:4). If people don't receive God's word, why should we be surprised? The New Testament has prepared us five times for this rejection. Our response is to be that of Jesus: we must, like a good teacher, attempt to find a way to reach our hearers on their level, using parables (Mt 13:10), stories, discourses, explanations, etc. In so doing, some will repent, turn back to Jesus, and be healed (Mt 13:15).

Prayer:  Jesus, make me an ever more faithful and effective Scripture teacher.

Promise:  "For with You is the fountain of life, and in Your light we see light." —Ps 36:10

Praise:  St. Sharbel Makhluf was a Lebanese hermit who became an exemplary Christian to the world. Devoted to Jesus' life of gospel poverty, he never touched money and ate only one meal of vegetables daily.

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

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 4, 2008

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