Alleluia: Called

Memorial of Saint Dominic, Priest
August 8, 2022

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/080822.cfm

Alleluia, alleluia.
God has called you through the Gospel
to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.


by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican between 1508 to 1512

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we begin nearly two weeks of first readings from the prophet Ezekiel, and this first one is a real WOW!

As I looked, a stormwind came from the North,
a huge cloud with flashing fire enveloped in brightness,
from the midst of which (the midst of the fire)
something gleamed like electrum.
Within it were figures resembling four living creatures
that looked like this: their form was human.

Ezekiel 1:4-6

Walter Brueggemann calls Ezekiel “the prophet who had fantasies and hallucinations”. Nevertheless, Ezekiel is considered a prophet because like all prophets, Ezekiel “noticed what no one else noticed” — Ezekiel “saw death coming” to Israel.

Ezekiel did not blame the king, the government, the military or the war planners for this terrible death to come. He blamed the religious community, the clergy, the prophets: “My hands will be against the prophets who see delusive visions and give lying messages” (13:9). Ezekiel blamed the religious community because that community is responsible for truth-telling.

Truth-Telling and Peacemaking: A Reflection on Ezekiel
by Walter Brueggemann

I think it might be safe to say that most religious communities – and the people who comprise them – do not want to hear such things about themselves. Abraham Heschel, one of the greatest theologians and philosophers of the 20th century said this:

The prophets had disdain for those to whom God was comfort and security; to them God was a challenge, an incessant demand. He is compassion, but not a compromise; justice, but not inclemency. Tranquility is unknown to the soul of a prophet. The miseries of the world give him no rest. While others are callous, and even callous to their callousness and unaware of their insensitivity, the prophets remain examples of supreme impatience with evil, distracted by neither might nor applause, by neither success nor beauty. Their intense sensitivity to right and wrong is due to their intense sensitivity to God’s concern for right and wrong. They feel fiercely because they hear deeply.

from: What Are Prophets For?

By Abraham Joshua Heschel
MARCH 25, 2020

In today’s Gospel, Jesus informs his disciples that he too will endure a prophet’s suffering:

As Jesus and his disciples were gathering in Galilee,
Jesus said to them,
“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men,
and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.”
And they were overwhelmed with grief.

Matthew 17:22-23

As we reflect on what these readings mean for us in our lives, our Alleluia Verse offers a key phrase:

Alleluia, alleluia.
God has called you through the Gospel
To possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

…through the Gospel

Unless we know and cherish the Gospel, we Christians cannot hear our call.


Poetry: The Call of a Christian – John Greenleaf Whittier

Not always as the whirlwind's rush 
On Horeb's mount of fear, 
Not always as the burning bush 
To Midian's shepherd seer, 
Nor as the awful voice which came 
To Israel's prophet bards, 
Nor as the tongues of cloven flame, 
Nor gift of fearful words,-- 
Not always thus, with outward sign 
Of fire or voice from Heaven,
The message of a truth divine, 
The call of Godis given! 
Awaking in the human heart 
Love for the true and right,-- 
Zeal for the Christian's better part, 
Strength for the Christian's fight. 
Nor unto manhood's heart alone
The holy influence steals 
Warm with a rapture not its own, 
The heart of woman feels! 
As she who by Samaria's wall
The Saviour's errand sought,-- 
As those who with the fervent Paul 
And meek Aquila wrought: 
Or those meek ones whose martyrdom 
Rome's gathered grandeur saw 
Or those who in their Alpine home
Braved the Crusader's war, 
When the green Vaudois, trembling, heard, 
Through all its vales of death, 
The martyr's song of triumph poured 
From woman's failing breath. 
And gently, by a thousand things 
Which o'er our spirits pass, 
Like breezes o'er the harp's fine strings, 
Or vapors o'er a glass, 
Leaving their token strange and new 
Of music or of shade, 
The summons to the right and true 
And merciful is made. 
Oh, then, if gleams of truth and light
Flash o'er thy waiting mind, 
Unfolding to thy mental sight 
The wants of human-kind; 
If, brooding over human grief,
The earnest wish is known 
To soothe and gladden with relief 
An anguish not thine own; 
Though heralded with naught of fear, 
Or outward sign or show; 
Though only to the inward ear 
It whispers soft and low; 
Though dropping, as the manna fell, 
Unseen, yet from above, 
Noiseless as dew-fall, heed it well,--- 
Thy Father's call of love!

Music: God is Calling through the Whisper

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