Daily Reflection: July 1 Tuesday of week 13 of the year

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Collect of the Day:

Lord, look with favour on our prayers.
Brighten the inmost places of our hearts with your love so that no dark desires can hide there:
heal us with the light of your heavenly grace.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.

Today’s Readings:

The First reading:    Amos 3:1 – 4:12

Listen, sons of Israel, to this oracle the Lord speaks against you, against the whole family I brought out of the land of Egypt:
You alone, of all the families of earth, have I acknowledged,
therefore it is for all your sins that I mean to punish you.
Do two men take the road together
if they have not planned to do so?
Does the lion roar in the jungle
if no prey has been found?
Does the young lion growl in his lair
if he has captured nothing?
Does the bird fall to the ground
if no trap has been set?
Does the snare spring up from the ground
if nothing has been caught?
Does the trumpet sound in the city
without the populace becoming alarmed?
Does misfortune come to a city
if the Lord has not sent it?
No more does the Lord do anything
without revealing his plans to his servants the prophets.
The lion roars: who can help feeling afraid?
The Lord speaks: who can refuse to prophesy?

I overthrew you as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah,
and you were like a brand snatched from the blaze;
and yet you never came back to me.
It is the Lord who speaks.

This therefore, Israel, is what I plan to do to you,
and because I am going to do this to you,
Israel, prepare to meet your God!

The Gospel:    Matthew 8:23 – 27

Then he got into the boat followed by his disciples. Without warning a storm broke over the lake, so violent that the waves were breaking right over the boat. But he was asleep. So they went to him and woke him saying, ‘Save us, Lord, we are going down!’ And he said to them, ‘Why are you so frightened, you men of little faith?’ And with that he stood up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and all was calm again. The men were astounded and said, ‘Whatever kind of man is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him.’

Reading    From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop

If I wanted to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ:

This is our glory: the witness of our conscience. There are people who rashly judge, who slander, whisper and murmur, who are eager to suspect what they do not see, and eager to spread abroad things they have not even a suspicion of. Against people of this sort, what defence is there save the witness of our own conscience?
My sisters and brothers, we do not seek, nor should we seek, our own glory even among those whose approval we desire. What we should seek is their salvation, so that if we walk as we should they will not go astray in following us. They should imitate us if we are imitators of Christ; and if we are not, they should still imitate him. He cares for his flock, and he alone is to be found with those who care for their flocks, because they are all in him.
And so we seek no advantage for ourselves when we aim to please people. We want to take our joy in people – and we rejoice when they take pleasure in what is good, not because this exalts us, but because it benefits them.
It is clear who is intended by the apostle Paul: If I wanted to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. And similarly when he says: Be pleasing to all people in all things, even as I in all things please all people. Yet his words are as clear as water, limpid, undisturbed, unclouded. And so you should, as sheep, feed on and drink of his message; do not trample on it or stir it up.
You have listened to our Lord Jesus Christ as he taught his apostles: Let your actions shine before others so that they may see your good deeds, and give glory to your Father who is in heaven, for it is the Father who made you thus. We are the people of his pasture, the sheep of his hands. If then you are good, praise is due to him who made you so; it is no credit to you, for if you were left to yourself, you could only be wicked. Why then do you try to pervert the truth, in wishing to be praised when you do good, and blaming God when you do evil? For though he said: Let your works shine before others, in the same Sermon on the Mount he also said: Do not parade your good deeds before others. So if you think there are contradictions in Saint Paul, you will find the same in the Gospels; but if you refrain from troubling the waters of your heart, you will recognise here the peace of the Scriptures and with it you will have peace.
And so, my brothers and sisters, our concern should be not only to live as we ought, but also to do so in the sight of others; not only to have a good conscience but also, so far as we can in our weakness, so far as we can govern our frailty, to do nothing which might lead our weak brother or sister into thinking evil of us. Otherwise, as we feed on the good pasture and drink the pure water, we may trample on God’s meadow, and weaker sheep will have to feed on trampled grass and drink from troubled waters.

Concluding Prayer:

O God, by your grace you adopted us and chose us to be children of light.
Grant that we may not become entangled in error and shadow
but always shine with the glory of truth.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.

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