Aug 11 – Memorial for St. Clare, virgin, religious founder
St. Clare (1194-1253) loved music and well-composed sermons. She was humble, merciful, charming, optimistic, and chivalrous. She would get up late at night to tuck in her sisters who’d kicked off their covers. She daily meditated on the Passion. When she learned of the Franciscan martyrs in Morrocco in 1221, she tried to go there to give her own life for God, but was restrained. Once, when her convent was about to be attacked, she displayed the Sacrament in a monstrace at the convent gates and prayed before it. The attackers left.
Toward the end of her life, when she was too ill to attend Mass, an image of the service would be displayed on the wall of her cell; thus her patronage of television.
- Patron Saint Index
“…whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven”
Today’s reading speaks of a reconciliation, not just between one another, but of how God desires to be reconciled with us.
We read in the Gospel where Jesus asks his disciples to continue to reach out to the unrepentant and not just by themselves, but with the community. There is a desire to try and try again, while bringing more witnesses and finally, the community. We cannot share or be witnesses about something we ourselves haven’t been through, and what the Gospel is also saying is of how so many have been reconciled with God. But we need to recognise that we are, then, sinners first.
In our conflicts and misunderstandings, nobody likes to be the first to apologise. “It is not my fault”, “I didn’t do anything wrong”. Which may be true, however, what follows are tense or broken relationships, hatred and unresolved issues that we ‘bind on earth’. Jesus then shows us how, when we reach out to others, we first acknowledge ourselves as sinners too. We seek to reconcile as the individual is far greater than the sum of his/her ‘wrongdoings’, and this is what Christ has done for us when He gave up His life once and for all, so that He could be reconciled with the Father, and we could be reconciled with Him.
Jesus also acknowledges that we may not be successful all the time, and that is when we surrender the individual to Christ and Christ will come, just as He ministered to the ‘pagans and tax collectors’. We are then at peace, for we have done our part.
In a world where there is so much hatred, uncertainty and animosity, there is hardly peace in our countries, in our homes and in our hearts; and that is where reconciliation needs to happen. We are ‘binding’ too many things here on earth, the things we can’t let go, our fame, our face, our successes and failures, our past, our seemingly planned future, our families and loved ones. All these are important, but we are not called to hold on to them, we are called instead to love all these and cling onto Christ tightly. For ultimately, our destination is not on earth but with Him in heaven, and it is there that we will truly receive the reward all of us have always been searching for.
Indeed the journey may not be smooth, but Christ invites us to bring our community along with us, maybe even just a friend, and through prayer, we will get there. So let’s always have the attitude of seeking reconciliation, to seek that peace in our lives, to bring peace to the world, to bring Christ to all; with the message that even though we are all sinners, it is never too late to reconcile for all of us are greatly loved. Amen.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Benjamin Mao)
Prayer: Dear Lord, help me not just work for the things of the world, the things that won’t last, but empower me with the courage to seek reconciliation, to take the first step to reconcile. Help us to experience this peace which you desire for us that is often covered by our distractions in life. Help us to find you in our lives, that we have a glimpse of your thoughts and desires so we can live our lives more confidently and faithfully. Lord, we pray that all the tensions and conflicts among nations, races and religions can be reconciled and may love, not greed, once again reign in all our hearts. Amen.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for your desire to want to reconcile us with you. Thank you for your loving and forgiving heart. Make our hearts like yours. Amen.