Mass Readings: July 11

First: Exodus 1:8-14,22
Resp: Psalm 124:1-8
Gospel: Matthew 10:34-11:1
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.

THE WORD AND WORDS OF GOD

"He who brings himself to nought for Me discovers who he is." –Matthew 10:39

God's ways and thoughts are very different than ours (Is 55:8-9). This means we don't understand what God does much of the time, and we are tempted to reject His will and His word. However, if we fix our eyes on Jesus (Heb 3:1), we will be open to divine revelation, even though it is far beyond our understanding. Jesus is the only Way to understand and obey God's word.

Only Jesus can remove the veil that obstructs our understanding of and obedience to God's word (2 Cor 3:14). For example, God says: "He who seeks only himself brings himself to ruin, whereas he who brings himself to nought for Me discovers who he is" (Mt 10:39). Many people disagree with this and believe in self-realization, not self-denial. However, we should focus not only on self-denial, but on self-denial for Jesus.

Jesus said: "He who will not take up his cross and come after Me is not worthy of Me" (Mt 10:38). Many read this and automatically underline the words "cross" or "not worthy," but we should underline "after Me" and "of Me," that is, after Jesus and of Jesus. We should read every Scripture verse as if we were at the foot of Jesus' cross. Then we can see the most severe demands of the Bible not as impossible obligations, but as opportunities to love Jesus. We will understand the words of God only when we love the Word of God, Jesus.

PRAYER: Jesus, if not for You...
PROMISE: "Our help is in the name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth." –Ps 124:8
PRAISE: St. Benedict was a follower "after Christ" because everything he did was "of Christ." He opened up opportunities for many to live for God through his rule and his inspiration.