Thursday, August 18, 2016

Thursday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

(Ezekiel 36:23-28; Matthew 22:1-14)

When the Puritans arrived in Boston Harbor, John Winthrop of the Massachusetts Bay Company gave a famous sermon.  Invoking Jesus’ call to his disciples, he told the immigrants that they were going to be like a “city on the hill.”  That is, they were to exemplify Christian unity and charity to the world.  The words may also be traced to Ezekiel in today’s first reading.

Israel has been devastated.  Its peoples have been scattered throughout the Middle East.  Their future appears hopeless.  Into this dark abyss, the prophet announces a new beginning.  Speaking with God’s voice, he says the people will be reunited in holiness.  They will be cleansed of impurities, and their hearts of stone will be replaced by ones of flesh.  They will then live as a model for all to see.

Christ fulfills this promise with the Church.  He sprinkles us with the waters of Baptism to cleanse us of our sins.  He nourishes us with the Eucharistic food so that we might work for a better world.  We falter at times, but the world still takes note.  Everyone recognizes that being Christian means, above all, caring for others