Tuesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 348

Give to the Most High as he has given to you,
generously, according to your means.
For the LORD is one who always repays,
and he will give back to you sevenfold.
But offer no bribes, these he does not accept!

For those who have even a passing familiarity with Our Lord, the idea of bribery is ludicrous. We can hear his roaring response in Psalm 50:13, “Do you think I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? He thunders a rebuke also in the opening verses of Isaiah:

"What do I care for the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD. I have had enough of whole-burnt rams and fat of fatlings; In the blood of calves, lambs, and goats I find no pleasure. When you come to appear before me, who asks these things of you? Trample my courts no more! To bring offerings is useless; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and sabbath, calling assemblies— festive convocations with wickedness— these I cannot bear!”
…and so forth for several more verses!

The saints and the scriptures continually assure us that God wants only our love; but the spiritually illiterate have such a hard time understanding what exactly that is.
Today we speak of presence, of “showing up.” The key word in scripture is hineneh, translated as “Here I am.”

In prayer that is often a matter of driving everything else out of the mind with loud, direct shouts at God. I often pray, “You are good, all good, supreme good!” – the wonderful words of Saint Francis. The Cloud ofUnknowing recommends one syllable words like love, peace, joy or you. Sometimes I find it helpful to “speak” within my mind the Our Father, one syllable for each breath: “our, fa, ther, who, art, in, hea, ven….”
Because The Word is God I can worship God by worshipping each word and each syllable of each word.

Of course there are many other prayers: Maranatha, Hail Mary, Alleluia, Glory be, and so on.” The point is to pay attention to nothing but God. I will gently shove all else out of my mind with "God!" For this moment of prayer I will forget about my duties and responsibilities, my worries and anxieties, my resentments and fears. I will care about and think about nothing but God – because I believe (credo) God is worthy of all my love.
Settling into God’s presence, I might want to bring a gift – as a gift, in gratitude for all God’s gifts. But a bribe? Fuhgedaboudit.

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.