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THE INFINITE LOVE OF AN INFINITE GOD

Father Francis's picture
Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Gen. 28:10-22 & Mt. 9:18-26

Having deceived his father into giving him the blessing his brother should have received Jacob left home, because of the trouble he had caused in the family, and now his life was in danger. He wandered all day and then stopped for the night in a desolate place. As he slept he had a strange dream of a ladder reaching from Earth to Heaven which angels were going up and down.

The dream made Jacob realise that he was not alone. The Lord was watching over him and reassuring him of the promises He had made to his father and grandfather. What was the meaning of the ladder on which angels were ascending and descending? The word angel means God's messenger and the dream shows that they are always active, carrying messages from us to God and from God to us.

There are times in our lives when we can feel very lonely, abandoned by God and friends. Our so-called friends may abandon us but God never will. The image of the ladder reminds us that there is an invisible link between us and God, a two-way communication. The angels carry our thoughts and prayers to God. At Mass, we pray that the angels "may take this sacrifice to your altar in Heaven," and we join the angels in singing God's praise.

In return, God sends His angel messengers to us, giving us guidance and comfort. It was an angel who announced to Mary the important role that God had given her. An angel encouraged Joseph in a dream to take Mary as his wife and a whole choir of angels attended the birth of Jesus.

Each of us has a guardian angel to whom we can appeal for help. They light, guard, rule and guide us constantly, even while we sleep. The night prayer of the Church asks, "May Your holy angels stay here and guard us in peace." Angels, of course, can work in many ways. Most of us have had the experience of being in some kind of trouble or difficulty and then suddenly finding our prayers answered with the help of a stranger: God is with us in the mundane details of everyday life. He is in every place even though, like Jacob, we do not always realise it.

Jacob's vision reminds us that we are trying to be people of prayer, continually raising our minds and hearts to God. We must also try to be patient and alert to the messages God sends to us. The lines of communication are always open, so let us make good use of them.

In the Gospel we see Jesus’ concern for the synagogue official whose daughter had died. It was a very sad occasion. In contrast, the woman with the haemorrhage was really a 'nobody' as compared with the important leader of the synagogue. Her sickness was of great concern to her since she had lived with it for 12 years. Yet Jesus showed just as much concern for her and was unwilling to ignore her. Jesus loves all people, big and small, and He appreciates human problems, both critical like the death of the little girl and those not so critical like the illness of the woman.

Lord Jesus, help us to appreciate Your love for each one of us, and to realise that our concerns are Your concerns.

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