“And Jeremiah the prophet said to the prophet Hananiah, ‘Listen, Hananiah, the Lord has not sent you, and you have made this people trust in a lie.’” (Jeremiah 28:15)
Our first reading today is quite dramatic. A prophet called Hananiah lied against God by announcing to the people something he did not hear from God. He went as far as breaking the wooden bars that God had told Jeremiah to place on his neck as a symbol of the imminent exile of the people as a result of their sins. In Hananiah, we see an example of what becomes of men and women of God who lie on the Altar in the name of God telling the people what they like to hear rather than what God himself has spoken.
While growing up, we were told: “Say the truth and shame the devil.” This is a saying that does not apply to children only. Even as adults, even as grown-ups, we should remember that each time we tell a lie, we are giving credit to Satan, the father of lies. There is no justification whatsoever for telling a lie.
Jesus is saddened by the death of his friend and forerunner, John the Baptist. He retreats to a quiet place just to be by himself and mourn but the crowd would not let him. When he saw them approaching, he had pity on them, he forgot his own distress and attended to them. They say the way to be happy is to make someone happy. Jesus was sad but, in his sadness, he didn’t send the crowd away, he saw that they were also sad and he decided to make them happy, that way he too became happy. He fed them with the word of God and with physical food as well.
I do myself disfavour when I put people away because of my own sadness because the truth is that as much as I expect people to have pity on me and cry with me, people also expect the same of me. The happiest persons on earth are not those without problems but those who spread happiness to others as if their own problems do not exist.
Today we celebrate the memorial of St. Alphonsus Maria de Ligori, the founder of the Order of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists). He was an Italian Catholic Bishop, spiritual writer, composer, musician, artist, poet, lawyer, scholastic philosopher, and theologian. He was born on the 27th of September, 1696 and died on this day 1st of August, 1787 at Pagini, in Italy.
Amongst his favourite quotes include: Acquire the habit of speaking to God as if you were alone with Him, familiarly and with confidence and love, as to the dearest and most loving of friends. Your God is ever beside you – indeed, He is even within you.
Let us pray: Almighty ever-living God, may truth never be lacking from my lips. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Bible Study: Jer. 28:1-17, Ps. 119:29,43,79-80,95,102, Matthew 14:13-21).
© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu