Mass Readings: August 16

First: Judges 6:11-24
Resp: Psalm 85:9,11-14
Gospel: Matthew 19:23-30
Reprinted from Presentation Ministries, a lay association of the Catholic Church that focuses on evangelization and discipleship through Bible teaching, daily Mass, the charisms of the Holy Spirit, and Small Christian Community

"SUNDAY OBLIGATION"

"While his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to save it from the Midianites, the angel of the Lord appeared to him." –Judges 6:11-12

For seven years the Midianites descended upon Israel to devour its produce. This left the Israelites in misery and starvation. To save a little wheat, Gideon threshed it secretly in the winepress instead of on a threshing floor. This may be similar to the spiritual condition of many Christians today. Many are spiritually starving. We cannot live on bread alone, but on every word which comes from God's mouth (Mt 4:4). Nevertheless, we don't spend much time in God's word. Neither do we eat the spiritual food of Holy Communion frequently enough (see Jn 6:55). We have so stuffed ourselves with the pleasures of the world (see Prv 13:19) that we have lost our appetite for the things of God (see Gal 5:17).

Like the Midianites, the devil has reduced us to spiritual starvation and anorexia. Like Gideon, we survive by beating out a little wheat in the winepress. We call this "fulfilling our Sunday obligation." This is good in that it keeps us breathing, but not good enough to provide the spiritual nourishment necessary for full life in Christ (see Jn 10:10). We must repent, change our lifestyle, and let the Lord free us from oppression, starvation, and spiritual anorexia.

PRAYER: Father, may I allow You to give me my daily bread (Mt 6:11).
PROMISE: "Many who are first shall come last, and the last shall come first." –Mt 19:30
PRAISE: St. Stephen's parents were both converts who wisely chose St. Adalbert as his teacher in the faith. He spent his energy propagating his faith and providing for the spiritual needs of his people.