Daily Readings & Inspiration Daily

Memorial of Saint Clare, Virgin

Reading 1 EZ 2:8—3:4

The Lord GOD said to me:
As for you, son of man, obey me when I speak to you:
be not rebellious like this house of rebellion,
but open your mouth and eat what I shall give you.

It was then I saw a hand stretched out to me,
in which was a written scroll which he unrolled before me.
It was covered with writing front and back,
and written on it was: 
Lamentation and wailing and woe!

He said to me: Son of man, eat what is before you;
eat this scroll, then go, speak to the house of Israel.
So I opened my mouth and he gave me the scroll to eat.
Son of man, he then said to me,
feed your belly and fill your stomach
with this scroll I am giving you.
I ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth.
He said: Son of man, go now to the house of Israel,
and speak my words to them.

Responsorial Psalm PS 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131

R. (103a)  How sweet to my taste is your promise!
In the way of your decrees I rejoice,
as much as in all riches.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
Yes, your decrees are my delight;
they are my counselors.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
The law of your mouth is to me more precious
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
How sweet to my palate are your promises,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
R.  How sweet to my taste is your promise!
Your decrees are my inheritance forever;
the joy of my heart they are.
R.  How sweet to my taste is your promise!
I gasp with open mouth,
in my yearning for your commands.
R.  How sweet to my taste is your promise!

 

 

Alleluia MT 11:29

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 18:1-5, 10, 12-14

The disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?”
He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said,
“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever becomes humble like this child
is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.
And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones,
for I say to you that their angels in heaven
always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.
What is your opinion?
If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray,
will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills
and go in search of the stray?
And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it
than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. 
In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father
that one of these little ones be lost.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

The One vs. the 99

Today’s Gospel is one of the most well-known Gospel stories we have. We are told that, in order to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven we must become like a child.

Children are not jaded, cynical, or critical of themselves or others. They do not hold grudges. They reserve judgment because their only experience of the world is their own. Children wave and smile at complete strangers because to them, everyone is a friend. Children trust and do not worry.

Is it any wonder that Christ wants us to be like children? They have utter purity of heart. “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.”

I desire deeply to see God in everything, but the cloud of “adulthood” makes that difficult. I am slow to trust others. I have unintended prejudices towards other cultures, races, disabilities. I worry almost all the time. With adulthood comes more freedom; but that freedom is a double-edged sword that brings along with it negativity, stress, and apathy. It causes me to be critical in my thoughts and actions toward others without first approaching their shortcomings with compassion.

We slowly let go of the purity of our hearts along the road to adulthood, causing us to lose our ability to see God in all things.

For all intents and purposes, I am one of the ninety-nine—a safe, comfortable sheep following the Shepherd, nourished within the sheepfold of the Church. I have not gone “astray” from the Church, but I catch myself judging the one that has. Like the brother of the Prodigal Son, I wonder why I am not the one being commended for staying faithful. Yet where does this false piety and need for justification leave me? It causes me to forget the times when I have been the 1 who needed rescuing. It depletes my ability to feel empathy towards the painful experiences of my fellow brothers and sisters. It creates an even deeper divide between them and me that was never supposed to be there in the first place.

You see, the shepherd who goes after the 1 does not abandon the 99. He is not saying that they don’t matter, that they aren’t as important to him, that their lives don’t bring value. He is intimately in-tune with the immediate needs of his flock. Right now, the 99 are okay. They don’t need him as urgently.

It is the same in our world today. As Christians, we too are called to go out and seek the lost. With our baptism comes the commission to comfort the afflicted and respond in humility and kindness to the needs of others. The word compassion comes from the combination of two Latin words. Com = with. Passion = suffer. Com-passion. To suffer together with.

Right now, our discriminated brothers and sisters need us to fight for their rights in human solidarity. Our immunocompromised and elderly brothers and sisters need us to protect them by wearing a mask and staying home when asked to. Our poor children caught in sex-trafficking need us to recognize their cries for help and do something. This Christian call to arms is by no means comfortable or easy, but it is absolutely necessary and utterly vital to our Christian mission.

As I contemplate the Good Shepherd’s heart, I am filled with awe, gratitude, and relief that He would do the same for me as He does for that one missing sheep. He will never forget me or give up on me. When I find myself lost, He never stops ardently pursuing me, and rejoices to welcome me home. Until then, I’ll do my part to keep the 100 sheep united.

Contact the author

Sarah Rose hails from Long Island and graduated from Franciscan University in 2016 with a Bachelor’s in Theology & Catechetics. She is happily married to her college sweetheart John Paul. They welcomed their first child, Judah Zion, in 2019. She is passionate about her big V-vocation: motherhood, and her little v-vocation: bringing people to encounter Christ through the true, the good, and the beautiful. She loves fictional novels, true crime podcasts/documentaries, the saints (especially Blessed Chiara Luce Badano), & sharing conversation over a good cup of coffee. She is currently the Coordinator of Young Adult Ministry at St. Cecilia Church in Oakley, Cincinnati. You can find out more about her ministry here: https://eastsidefaith.org/young-adult OR at https://www.facebook.com/stceciliayam.

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