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HOW GOD IS WITH US

Father Francis's picture
Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Jer. 3:14-17 & Mt. 13:18-23

There are different ways to receive God's word - joyfully and fruitfully, or with indifference, resentment and frustration. Sadly we can even just reject it. That is the meaning of today's Gospel parable.

At the time of Jeremiah's prophecy Jerusalem had already been destroyed. And the Ark of the Covenant had disappeared, never to be replaced, in what was a depressing blow because it symbolised God's presence among His people. But Jeremiah assured those people that they need not lose heart. A time would come when they would have no need of an Ark of the Covenant to remind them of God's presence, because Jerusalem itself would become His throne and all nations would be drawn to Him.

The prophets, even though moved by God to speak in His name, often did not realise the full meaning of what they proclaimed. More often than not, the promises of the prophets were fulfilled in a way far beyond their expectations. Although Jeremiah foresaw a wonderful future for God's people, he could not have known exactly how God was going to fulfil that promise. His task was merely to prepare the people for what might come.

Christ was the fulfilment of the prophecies. It was in Him that God came to live with His people. When we speak of Our Lady as the new Ark of the Covenant, we think of her as the precious vessel which bore God into the world.

Jesus is present with us in the Eucharist, in the inspired word and in His people who are gathered together in prayer. He is also present whenever His priest officiates at the altar and administers the Sacraments. Let us be very conscious of His presence with us whenever we are at Mass: the greater our awareness of Him the greater will be our love and worship.

Lord Jesus, we believe that when we receive You in Holy Communion, You are within us. May we take You out into our world. Like Mary, we have a role to play in being 'an ark of the covenant' and bringing God into a Godless world.

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