18 August, Thursday — We have been invited

Thursday of Week 20 in Ordinary Time

Ez 36:23-28
Mt 22:1-14

You shall be my people

Today’s first reading is filled with rich words of beauty.

God tells us He will prove His Holiness.

God tells us He will sprinkle clean water upon us and cleanse us from all our impurities.

God tells us that He will be our God.

God’s Holiness is all around. Every breath we take is holy. Every heartbeat is holy. Without the holy love of God, we would cease to exist, we would, as scripture beautifully states, be nothing more than a vapour. A vapour is something even less than smoke, as it is nearly invisible and disappears into nothing — leaving nothing behind. But because GOD is within each of us, we have holiness ingrained in every cell in our body. 

Jean-Pierre de Caussade describes God’s holiness in a way that captured my heart. 

“To the abandoned soul, the soul that trusts God, God is visible even in the proud
souls who oppose Him. Every creature, whether good or evil, reveals God to him.”

I love the visual of sprinkling water. I love all the water in scripture, from the rains that pelted the ark, to the parting of the Red Sea; to the River Jordan, to the Sea of Galilee; to the woman at the well, to the living water that gushed from the side of our crucified Lord. The sprinkling of water takes us back to our baptism, does it not? Like most Catholics, I was baptized as an infant, so I don’t remember the sprinkling of water 63 years ago. But the effect of that cleansing sprinkle of water is the greatest gift of my life. That sprinkling enabled me to embrace Christ and accept his grace, mercy and forgiveness, so that the gates of heaven would be open for me.

He will be our God. We will be His people. Such serenity in knowing that we belong to Him, that He CLAIMS us. The almighty creator of heaven and earth CLAIMS US because HE wants to. He claims us for His own because He loves us, even when He doesn’t love our thoughts, words, or actions. He claims us all — the good, the bad, the hard and the hurting. Whether we act in holiness or in alignment with the angel of death, there is nothing that we can do that will destroy His love for us – even if, in the end, we choose to turn from heaven.

We have been invited. What we do with His invitation to be His people is our choice.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Gina Ulicny)

PrayerFather God, how we need the waters of our baptism to pour all over us. From our thoughts, to our words, to our actions. Lord, we need your help daily to become who you have created us to be. Lord, help us to live every minute in the knowledge that you are our God and we are, indeed, your people. 

ThanksgivingFather in Heaven, how inadequate our words are to thank you for your constant love. For claiming us as yours. For inviting us to be with you forever.

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