A word from Deacon Ed
“If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.” This is todays responsorial psalm. On the surface, it seems like a gentle suggestion. But in light of our other readings today, it becomes very strong and has great emphasis. We are compelled, for the sake of our own soul and the souls of those we love, to be strong in speaking God’s message.
Many in our society do not want to hear God’s voice or at the very least the urgency of His message. Who wants to break up the party. In some ways, I feel like our society is like the Jews being led to the promised land. Moses goes up the mountain to hear God and those down below begin making golden idols and living sinfully. In our reading from Ezekiel, God tells us that we are responsible for correcting the sinful ways of others. If we are silent, we bear the guilt of their death to sin. We are of course, not responsible for their continued sinfulness, but it is an obligation from God to warn them.
I truly believe that the great natural calamities which we, as both a nation and a world, are enduring are God’s way of getting our attention. As you read this, Hurricane Irma will have landed somewhere in Florida. Hurricane Harvey produced the largest amount of rainfall ever in this country. Hurricane Irma has the strongest winds ever of a hurricane which formed in the Atlantic. There have also been tremendous storms in India and Pakistan. We hear repeatedly in Scripture, “He who has ears ought to hear.” God is warning us to change our ways. As a society, we have become accepting of sinfulness as a person’s right to choose. It is their right to choose, but we, as loving children of God, have an obligation not to sit idly by and accept this as normal. We are our brothers’ keepers. What can we do?
As St. Paul says in the second reading, we love one another by keeping the commandments. In our Gospel from St. Matthew, Jesus suggests ways for us to correct the sinner. Jesus concludes by telling us of the power of prayer and His response to our prayer. Mary, in her apparitions, repeats the word three times at the conclusion of each visit. PRAY! PRAY! PRAY! So today let us pray for the victims of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. Let us pray for the conversion of sinners. And, let us pray for ourselves and our families. REMEMBER: If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.