Audio Readings July 6, 2016

Genesis 28:10-22
Psalm 91:1-4, 14-15

Matthew 9:18-26

Saint Maria Goretti, Virgin and Martyr (Optional Memorial)

Jacob took the stone and poured oil on top of it. (Genesis 28:18)

Many figures of the Old Testament were holy men and women, sturdy examples of integrity. But many others were, at times, dishonest cheats and thieves who relied heavily on God’s mercy to pull through in the end. That’s one way to describe Jacob. He plotted and lied in order to receive a blessing from his father, Isaac. The blessing he tricked Isaac into giving him was hard-won, and once it had been given, it could not be taken back. But if a blessing was such a valuable thing, why on earth do we read about him blessing a stone?

Isn’t it so in keeping with the kingdom of God that the greatest gifts get lavished on the most ordinary things? Think about it: what’s the most mundane object you can imagine? Can you think of anything more ordinary than a rock? Now compare that with oil. In recent years, wars have been fought, and entire national economies have hung in the balance over this precious substance. It was no less important in ancient times. Not only was it expensive, but it had political and spiritual significance; oil was used to ordain priests and crown kings. Even the highest name of all, “Christ,” means “anointed.” That’s how important oil was. And Jacob poured it out on a stone!

For all its lowliness, stone has a special place in our churches. Where it is available, it is incorporated in the construction of an altar—as a way of linking the altar to the tradition of a “memorial stone” that today’s first reading represents

(Genesis 28:22). Just like the stone that Jacob rested on and then consecrated with oil, in Mass, the altar is revealed to be a “gateway to heaven,” an earthly place where God makes his presence known (28:17).

So the next time you’re in a church, remember that the altar helps mark out this place as “an abode of God” (Genesis 28:17). It’s not your fervent prayer that sanctifies the church; it’s the anointing of God’s own presence. He is just as fully present whether you’re praying fervently or fast asleep like Jacob! And remember: more likely than not, at the center of it all is something as simple as a stone.

“Lord, thank you for revealing yourself to humble people in humble ways.”~WAU


About gemdk

I am a cradle Catholic who made my first Holy Communion over 5o years ago at All Saints Catholic Church in Houston,TX in 1961. Went to Mass every Sunday as a child and teen and then young adult. Fell away for about 12 years in the late 80's, early 90's and then realized what was missing in my life was my Catholic upbringing and faith. Found my home at Sacred Heart in Crosby. Filling up the void I had for those 12 years in more ways than I can imagine, loving every minute of it. But this blog is not about me as much as it is for me and anyone who wants/needs to hear the word of God. I'm merely the instrument God uses to post the readings.
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