Scripture: 1st Reading: Ex33,7-11;34,5-9,28; Resp. Psalm: Ps103,6-13;Gospel: Mt13,36-43
We are nothing in the presence of God. When we consider the immensity of the universe, and remember that our planet earth is just a small one within the countless galaxies that exist, and recall that we are so insignificant within our own planet earth, then we recognize that we are nothing in God's presence. God is so awesome, so inexhaustible, so great, so infinite that our language is so poor and our description so inadequate to describe Him.
In spite of this, this same awesome God comes into encounter with man, who is so insignificant and is nothing. God meets man, befriends man, loves him. God who has no need of us for anything, wills to share His life with us. This is exactly what happened in the wilderness between Yahweh, the mighty God, and Israel, His chosen people. In the tent that Moses pitched outside the camp, named the Tent of Meeting, Yahweh encountered His people to resolve their problems.
In this Tent, which was inadequate and so poor to contain the incomparable glory of God, God meets His people. A pillar of cloud was the sign of His presence. In that Tent, God spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. Awesome though He was, Moses called Him merciful, gracious, "slow to anger, and abounding in mercy and faithfulness, keeping merciful love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children."
In his encounter with Yahweh, Moses pleaded for Israel before Yahweh. He asked Yahweh to pardon the iniquities and sin of the people and take them for His inheritance. Yahweh relented and gave him back the ten commandments once again for the people of Israel.
God wants to encounter us every second of our lives. He wants to manifest His will through His word. Our Lord in today's Gospel passage, explained the parable of the weeds of the field. Our Lord explained that the good deeds were the sons of the kingdom, and the weeds, the sons of the evil one. The harvest is the close of the age and the reapers are the angels.
Our Lord's point is clear here: at the end, there will be judgement to separate the good from the bad people. Those who live good lives will inherit eternal life; the evil ones will inherit everlasting punishment in hell fire. Where we go to will be determined by the way we live our lives here on earth.
Again today, the word challenges us to have a rethink on the values we cherish. Are they helping us to attain the kingdom? Are they moving us closer to God or drawing us away from that loving encounter we should be having with Him? St. Alphonsus Liguori whose memorial we celebrate today, prioritized his values. For him, the good life must the the goal of any human existence. The good life is life lived in constant encounter with God, the source of our being. The good life is living virtuous, holy lives in the presence of our God. May he intercede for us. St. Alphonsus Liguori, pray for us.
We begin a new month today, the month of August. May the good Lord accompany us, bless us, let His face shine upon us and be gracious unto us. May He encounter us in new ways this new month and satisfy the desire of our hearts and the hunger in our souls. Happy New Month.
Let us pray: "O God, who constantly raise up in your Church new examples of virtue, grant that we may follow so closely in the footsteps of the Bishop Saint Alphonsus in his zeal for souls as to attain the same rewards that are his in heaven." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.