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Daily Prayer - 2013-08-27

Presence

I slow myself down for a moment, and try to realise that God is present.
To me. Here and now. He is in present in what I do,
in the people that I meet, and the situations I find myself in daily.
How can I make this reality real for myself?

Freedom

Lord God I thank you for the gift of freedom.
Help me to use this gift with integrity.
I am free to make choices.
Help me to choose to follow you,
to live in a Christian way by caring for others.
Remind me to consider always those less fortunate than myself,
the oppressed, the prisoner, those who are not free to worship in public.
Guide me always to seek your holy will in all the events of my life.

Consciousness

I exist in a web of relationships - links to nature, people, God.
I trace out these links, giving thanks for the life that flows through them.
Some links are twisted or broken: I may feel regret, anger, disappointment.
I pray for the gift of acceptance and forgiveness.

The Word of God

Matthew 23:23-26

Jesus said, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel! "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may become clean."

Some thoughts on today's scripture

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  • Institutionalised religion always runs the risk of insincerity or in the worst case, hypocrisy, as salaried preachers have to match their behaviour to the principles of the faith. Interestingly the only people Jesus denounces in the Gospel are these Pharisees and their like. He accuses them of not understanding God because they don’t see the importance of the fundamentals: justice, mercy and faith.
  • Very often it takes one person to see and to state what is going wrong and to reset the priorities. Jesus does this again and again in his dealings with “sinners”: people whose behaviour runs contrary to the Jewish Law. He heals and he forgives sins where Pharisees and others rush to condemn and even destroy.
  • Pope Francis puts it so well: “Moreover, pastors and the lay faithful who accompany their brothers and sisters in faith or on a journey of openness to God must always re-member what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches quite clearly: 'Imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors'. Consequently, without detracting from the evangelical ideal, they need to accompany with mercy and patience the eventual stages of personal growth as these pro¬gressively occur. I want to remind priests that the confessional must not be a torture chamber but rather an encounter with the Lord’s mercy which spurs us on to do our best. A small step, in the midst of great human limitations, can be more pleasing to God than a life which appears outwardly in order but moves through the day without confronting great difficulties". (Evangelii Gaudium, IV 44)

Conversation

What feelings are rising in me as I pray and reflect on God's Word?
I imagine Jesus himself sitting or standing near me and open my heart to him.

Conclusion

I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.

Amen

If you appreciated the daily prayer or have any suggestions or insights we will be glad to hear from you.

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