Brothers and sisters, it is good to be back and be home. I recently returned from my honeymoon, rejuvenited and refreshed, I am very excited to be back and living with my wife in the vocation that God has called us to. Please keep us in your prayers as we begin to build the foundation for our family, a foundation built upon Christ.
First Reading: Isaiah 7:1-9
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 48
Gospel: Matthew 11:20-24
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.
After reading the gospel this morning, one message stood out to me; Wake up! No, I was not falling asleep while reading or during mass this morning, but this message was pretty apparent to me while reading. In the gospel Jesus is speaking to the people of the towns in which he has been performing amazing miracles and healings, but the people of these towns are not allowing themselves to be moved by the spirit here so they are not repenting, they are just going about their daily lives as if nothing is happening around them. Jesus tells the people that they need to wake up and repent! He says that if the works that he is doing had been done many years ago, many of those wicked towns that we have read about in the old testament would have repented and turned to Christ, but since the people of Jesus' day are essentially "asleep" to him and his message, things are going to be pretty terrible for them. Since they are choosing to remain asleep, they are choosing for themselves an eternity of suffering and misery. I don't think that any of us want anything like that for our future or the future of anyone that we know and care about.
Jesus is here, with us now, we need to wake up to that fact. We need to turn to him, tell him how sorry we are for all the things that we have done and just surrender our lives to him. Then at the end of this earthly life, we might be blessed enough to hear him say to us; "Well done, good and faithful servant." I know how easy it is to get off track and "fall asleep." We live in a very busy and fast paced world, and there are many distractions and messages that go against our faith. But as was spoken in the first reading today, it says at the end that "Unless your faith is firm, you shall not be firm." We must have a solid foundation that is built upon Christ, and we must rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us in our daily lives. We must also as St. Paul describes in Romans, "Persevere in Prayer." By having a solid prayer life, we then build a good relationship with Christ, thereby "firming" up our faith. Not always an easy thing to do, but remember the reward at the end of the journey is so glorious and more that we could ever hope for or imagine. I pray that we all find the strength and courage to wake up and be firm in our faith, until the end.
Brother and sisters, today begins the twenty-third world youth day in Sidney Australia. Please pray for our youth everywhere and especially those attending this magnificent event. Please pray that they will be strengthened and return with a renewed love for Christ and the courage to share the good news with all those around them.
Lord, you are the source of all things that are good. Please increase our faith so that we might be firm in our faith this day and all days ahead. Lord, we pray for the strength to proclaim your message to the world and to not be asleep to your work in our lives. Let us always have our eyes on you and on the heavenly prize at the end of our lives. Lord, be with the youth this day, help them to be strengthened and renewed by your spirit that they might fall deeper in love with you and follow you without any hesitation. Lord we ask this all through your name. Amen.