JULY 6, 2011 14TH WEEK OF THE YEAR: MATTHEW 10:1-7

When Jesus sent out his apostles for their first mission the one message he gave them as a directive was characterized by a certain urgency: Matthew puts it in these words: “As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” In assuming this tone of immediate necessity, our Lord was acting in the spirit of his predecessors, the prophets of Israel. Later he was to speak of the need to recognize the signs that accompanied the presence of God’s saving acts in the time of grace. Not long after the resurrection Saint Paul took up this same theme: “The appointed time is short”, he wrote to the Corinthians, and made that fact a consideration in the advice he gave. Already in ancient time, there arose men who felt strongly that there were periods that imposed an urgency to the lives of people. IT IS TIME TO SEEK THE LORD, TILL HE COMES AND RAINS DOWN JUSTICE UPON YOU.  This word of exhortation from the eighth century Jewish prophet, Hosea, was preached at a pivotal period in the history of God’s chosen people. The first step to preparing the scene to meet the coming crisis was to diagnose the problem accurately; only then could a cure be hoped for. Thus, while he confronts a challenging situation, he holds out a hopeful future. For those who truly seek the Lord will experience the integrity that makes life truly human and happy. It was Ecclesiastes who developed this insight in detail so as to show how significant it is for our human race. ”For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pick what is planted.”

In Modern times, a psychologist at Yale came to understand how helpful it would be to recognize these different times as they unfolded in our human condition. He recorded the results of his careful study in a work he entitled “The Seasons of Life.” Rightly to interpret them and profit from the passing occasions for growth is a function of discernment. Saint Anthony the father of hermits was keenly appreciative of this virtue and taught that discernment is the most useful attainment for those living the dedicated life. By approaching such reflection in a spirit of faith we come to realize some of the implications of Jesus’ instruction to his apostles as he sent them out on their first mission. The time of the Kingdom of God has come, be converted and live the true life.

There is a hidden dimension of the material world we are part of; there is also our interior world that is partly hidden even from our self. It tells us of a life greater, more promising, and full. At its innermost level it is the place where the living God dwells within us. Each of us has access to this invisible yet very real divine presence that is accessible to trusting faith that in our Lord’s words. In offering this Eucharist we are placed in contact with that invisible world that is governed by the transcendent love of God. In this sacrament if we open our heart in faith we are offered the grace of insight and strength that enable us to redeem the times of our life so that they prepare us for that true life where God is all in all. & 

Abbot John Eudes Bamberger

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