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August 17, 2021

Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners,

We encourage you to reflect on Tuesday’s readings at this link:
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/081721.cfm

If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: Judges 6:11-24a
Responsorial: Psalm 85, 9, 11-14
Gospel: Matthew 19:23-30

Our reflection on Tuesday’s readings:
Everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life.     Matthew 19:29
 
Spiritual writers speak of the different tasks of the first and second halves of life. During the first half we build up our individual identity—our personality, ego, self-image, achievements, possessions, family, and career. The spiritual task of the second half of life is learning to let go of those things so as to find a deeper identity.

Whether we like it or not, letting go is a natural part of the second half of life. By then, most of us have suffered the loss of parents and other beloved family and friends. Contemporaries die too soon or are diminished by illness. Even if we ourselves are spared serious illness, we sense that we are not as vigorous as we once were. If our careers gave us satisfaction, retirement can feel like a loss of purpose and value.

Initially Jesus’ words in today’s gospel can feel like anything but good news. Must we really let go of all that we treasure as an essential condition for entering the Kingdom of heaven?

I find it difficult to imagine that God, the author of so much beauty and goodness in creation, isn’t pleased when we enjoy and give thanks for His gifts to us. As Henri Nouwen notes, the world is only evil when you become its slave.

As we gently let go of our attachments, we are led to the realization that God’s love is the only truly enduring and eternal reality. Perhaps that is the meaning of Jesus’ promise today of hundred-fold blessings.

I am strengthened and encouraged by another promise in today’s readings, God’s assurance to Gideon that is also offered to us: Go with strength … I shall be with you. (Judges 6:14,16).

Wishing you God’s blessings,
Jean Galanti

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