Scripture: 1st Reading: Lev23,1,4-11,15-16,27,33-37; Resp. Psalm: Ps81,3-6,10-11; Gosp. Accl.: 1Pet1,25; Gospel: Mt13,54-58
The love of God is everlasting. His care is endless. His providence is limitless. He has particular love for each of His creatures. He desires to have a personal relationship with the works of His hands. He invites those He made into a special encounter of love. He calls them to worship Him faithfully and reverence His holy name.
Yahweh called Israel to a relationship that is expressed in worship. Yahweh called His chosen people to dedicate themselves to Him, to see Him as their one, true God. To this end, Yahweh gave them a "calendar" of feasts that were to become obligatory for all the sons of Israel. On these feastdays, Israel was to have a holy convocation or gathering. These feastdays were to be observed as work free days, days of rest, to be dedicated solely to Yahweh.
On these feastdays, Passover, Unleavened Bread, offering of the first fruits, Pentecost, Atonement, Booths, Israel was to present a holy offering to Yahweh. These feastdays were instituted by Yahweh to bring to Israel's consciousness that they were a people specially chosen by Yahweh, a people dedicated to Him alone. They were to demonstrate Israel's special relationship with Yahweh, set them apart before all the nations as the people of God.
These feastdays were also expressions of faith in Yahweh as the only One who had the right to Israel's obedience. This was the faith that our Lord found absent in the people gathered in the Synagogue of Nazareth today. The people were besotted with where he got His wisdom and the mighty works He did from. They were unable to come to faith in Him because they knew His relatives. They did not honour Him as a prophet because He came from their country and they knew Him.
We are called to worship God in spirit and in truth. We are called to deep faith in the person of our Lord. We are called to a convinced worship of His name. We are called to a life lived for the glory of His holy name. This is why St. John Mary Vianney whose memorial we celebrate today, gives us an example to follow. He was a man of deep faith in the power of Jesus. He had a child-like trust in our Lord. He had an infectious love for His holy name.
He dedicated his entire life totally to the mission of Christ and of the church. He tirelessly called sinners to repentance and spent hours in the confessional, bringing back the stray to the Father's embrace. He was a permanent scourge to satan and the elemental spirits. May he intercede for us in our own journeys of faith.
Let us pray: "Almighty and merciful God, who made the Priest Saint John Vianney wonderful in his pastoral zeal, grant, we pray, that, through his intercession and example, we may win brothers and sisters in charity for Christ and attain with them eternal glory." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.