- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

August 21, 2019

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO

20th Wednesday in Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Pius X
Judges 9: 6-15; Matthew 20:1-16

I suggest we ponder today’s first reading as we look forward to the 2020 presidential election. It is important to keen p in mind that we are not only are we citizens of this great republic, we also citizens of the heavenly kingdom. Because of our dual citizenship, we are called to discern the Will of God for the United States. As a nation under God’s provident care, we need to seek the guidance of the Spirit and discern the individual best suited to lead us forward on our journey of faith and life in America. The author of the Book of Judges reminds us that there was no occasion for the trees to choose a king because they had all been planted and nurtured by the creator of the universe. As the People God had chosen to be his own, Israel had no occasion to set a king over themselves since The Holy One himself was their king. Having been made in the image and likeness of God, those who bear fruit for the good of the people of God are honored by all who are wise and God-fearing.

Anyone who would lead the people of God, one must be willing to forego all personal interests and advantages for the sake of the kingdom. All the fruit trees listed in the parable gave one reason for their refusal to be made king: they would have to compromise their personal values and sacrifice their ability to offer the world their God-given talents: oil to make men’s faces shine, sweetness delicacies to give joy to celebrations, and wine to gladden men’s hearts. The people are truly blest when their leaders make God’s strength their confidence and God’s salvation their joy. All our blessings come from the hands of God. They are given to us, not because of any merit of our own, but because of God’s loving-kindness.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory offered these thoughts while participating in a Theology on Tap session in Washington D.C.: “You cannot be a Catholic and sit on the sidelines,” Gregory told the young people. “To be a member of the Church means you’ve got to get in and get your hands dirty in the mix of the whole arena of faith from what we believe and profess to how we live and treat one another… To belong to a family means that you are invested in the life, the struggles, the pain, the joys that belong to being a member of this family, and that includes our faith, what we hold as true, and also it involves our investment in social justice dimensions of our faith.”

God’s love is nothing but generosity; He is always looking for a way to be good to us and to create possibilities where we don’t any. Let us commit ourselves to be totally conformed to Christ. Only then will we be able to pour ourselves out for the life of the world. When the Lord returns at the end of time, may he take us into his never-ending embrace.