Monday, July 16, 2007

Monday in the 15th Week of Ordinary Time (I)
The Importance of Remembering

Readings: Exodus 1:8-14, 22; Psalm 124:1b-3, 4-6, 7-8; Mathew 10:34—11:1

One main reason is given for the sufferings of the Israelites at the hands of the Egyptians in the first reading today: there came to power in Egypt a new king who knew nothing of Joseph. In other words, with the passage of time, the Egyptians forgot Joseph. They forgot how he had fed all the people, Egyptians and Hebrews alike, in a time of famine. They forgot all that Joseph had done to bring the two races together. And with this forgetting comes jealousy and suspicion and undue anxiety: if war should break out, they might add to the number of our enemies…

And forgetting doesn’t just result from the passage of time. It can happen for other reasons as well. The goodwill between neighbours or fellow citizens of different races can quickly be forgotten as a result of traumatic events like Pearl Harbour and September 11th. Seeds of discord can also be sown because some suddenly become much richer than others, or when there is perceived inequity in the way different people are treated. Whatever its cause, forgetting often leads to a shift in perspective. Close relations are frayed to breaking point. Friends become enemies. Harmony degenerates into violence.

Something like this can happen too in our relationship with God. With the passage of time, or through the unhealthy influence of a secular and materialistic society, or through fear of persecution, we can gradually forget all that God has done for us in Jesus Christ. We can lose our focus. Isn’t this why it’s so important to listen carefully to what Jesus is saying to us in the gospel today? What is he doing if not urging us to remember, to remember him, his life, his death and his resurrection? And not just to remember but also courageously to proclaim him in word and deed. Isn’t this what we’re doing in this, and in every, Eucharistic celebration? We remember how he loved us to his death, and so we celebrate… we believe…

How might we continue to remember and declare ourselves for the Lord in the presence of others today?

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