Daily Archives: March 5, 2011

Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time – Cycle A

5 March 2011

Reflecting on Deuteronomy 11:18, 26-28, 32 Matthew 7:21-27

Bind the Word in your heart and your head

Talk about taking things literally.  Moses told the people to hold so fast to the word of God that it would be bound at their wrists and on their foreheads, and still today the Orthodox Jewish man prepares for prayer by binding actual little boxes at his wrist and forehead, with tiny scrolls from the book of Deuteronomy inside them.   These phylacteries have served as prayer companions—Catholics would call them sacramentals—since at least the time of Christ (Mt. 23:5).   They signify that the wearer has taken the Word of God into his heart and soul.

What would it be like if we Catholics wore our faith on our sleeves like that?  Of course there are a few outward signs of our inward faith.    We place a crèche on the lawn during the Christmas season and wear ashes on our foreheads at the start of Lent.

These are signs to the outside world (and reminders to ourselves) that we are indelibly marked by Christ.  But my friend Vincente asked me a great question the other day: why don’t we Catholics make more of a mark on the culture than we do?  Why do we absorb the culture so much and correct the culture so little?

Why are we proud that, after a lifetime of Catholic formation, we can go out into the workplace and blend in so well that no one would ever guess that we are Catholic?

How unsettling to wonder if, after a lifetime of lukewarm “face time” in church, we will come before Christ at our deaths and he will say I never knew you.

What do you think is an authentic outward sign of your faith?

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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).