August 04, 2020 (Tuesday of Week 18 Year II: St John Mary Vianney)
Have no fear…
Dear friends in Christ, today we celebrate the memorial of St Jean-Baptist Vianney (Cure d'Ars). He was not a very promising student academically, being a son of a peasant farmer, but was eventually ordained because of his devout life. When he became the Parish priest of Ars-en-Dombes, an isolated village away from Lyon he did his very best and became a noted preacher and confessor. His fame grew widely and many sought him at the confessional that he was spending about eighteen hours a day hearing confessions. Ars became a pilgrimage centre from the number of people coming. He is the Patron Saint of Parish Priests and all Priests.
Our first reading (Jeremiah 30:1-2.12-15.18-22) reveals the extent of the punishment Judah incurred for refusing to listen to the voice of the Lord. “Your hurt is incurable, and your wound is grievous. There is none to uphold your cause, no medicine for your wound, no healing for you…Why do you cry over your hurt? Your pain is incurable. Because your guilt is great, because your sins are flagrant…” May the Lord not deal with us according to our sins. Amen. We must be careful not to think, that this is the story of Judah alone, it can be the story of anyone who refuses to listen in a time of warning. Even though the mercy of God is super-abundant, we must not take things for granted. That mercy was however seen in the next paragraph of the passage. Jeremiah was not completely a prophet of doom. He was simply delivering the message of God. Now he brings a message of hope and redemption, "Behold, I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob, and have compassion on his dwellings...out of them shall come songs of thanksgiving, and the voices of those who make merry."
The Gospel of today (Matthew 15:1-2,10-14) is about the question put to Jesus by the Pharisees and scribes from Jerusalem, “Why do your disciples break away from the tradition of the elders? They do not wash their hands when they eat food.” Jesus used the opportunity to teach them that what defiles a man is not what he eats but what comes out of his heart. Your practice of fasting and abstinence from food is not enough to take you to heaven unless you also practice the custody of your thoughts and utterances.
Let us pray: Though troubles assail and dangers affright, though friends should all fail and foes all unite, yet one thing secures us, whatever betide, the promise assures us, the Lord will provide. Amen. May the Almighty God bless you, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen