Thursday, July 31, 2008
Knowing the pottery process is important. When an object has been made but fails to please, the potter begins a serious program of renewal. The artist destroys the attempted work by squeezing it together into a lump. Before spinning the wheel again the artist flattens the mass of class with heavy pounding that is severe. Why? To remove the almost invisible air bubbles. Once finished, the formation process begins again. Something somewhat different is created ... never exactly the same as its predecessor. But the clay is not lost.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
While Pope Benedict XVI most likely will not have the years on Peter's throne that John Paul II had, there are already several publications about the man who seems to be showing the world a different side of his personality.
On June 9, 2008 The (London) Times On Line provided a list of several books in an article, "The Best of Benedict: a selection of papal biographies.." The article can be found at Times On Line.
So for some summer reading that is a little different from usual under the sun reading, you might find an interesting option. Any one of these books would most likely make you stand out among those reading in the sands!!
Today we are often called to serve more than the aging relative or the sick neighbor. Today our outreach is called for those whose language and culture we might not understand. With the click of a computer mouse we can watch on our computers the terrible natural disasters and even the destruction of war in places far away in travel time but now technically seconds "just up the road."
While we may feel the same "burden" that Martha grouses about, St. John’s letter reminds us that we have a calling to love one another. This is a genuine debt that we carry because we ourselves have been the object of another’s love or care or forgiveness. Our Creator God loved each of us. He fed our ancestors in the desert, on grassy plains, by a well and so on. But more than that our God gave us his Son to be our nourishment, to guide us when we have been lost and to give us when we are in need ... because we, too, have asked for his help. And he answered us.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
The gospel today speaks to us about finding a treasure. Jesus offers several descriptions of treasures that he likens to the kingdom of God. He is teaching his listeners that the greatest treasure we can seek and find is the kingdom of God ... not in some after-life but in our very midst. He tells the hearers that he will help them (and us) find it because it is God’s plan for the world, for you and me. "Seek (it) and you will find (it)" Mt: 7:7.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
So that you may not claim to be wiser than your are, brothers and sisters, I want you to understand this mystery: a harden has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved; as it is written,
Our of Zion will come the Deliverer;he will banish ungodliness from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins.
As regards the gospel they are enemies of God for your sake; but as regards election they are beloved, for the sake of their ancestors; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Just as you were once disobedient to God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience so they have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.
So what is the New Perspective on Paul that has stirred the waters of Catholic-Jewish relations? Again, as Jesuit Father Byrne writes in the article cited earlier, it is "basically a revolt against (this) long-standing caricature of Judaism purportedly based on Paul. The great apostle had to deal with a "legalistic pattern of religious behavior where one attempted to gain salvation through 'doing the work of the Law' rather than relying, in faith solely on the grace of God."
Dr. Sander (initiator of the New Perspective") demonstrated that legalism was not the basis of Judaism. That it is a religion based on covenant and its response to grace. The earlier interpretation of Paul's feelings of dissatisfaction toward Judaism was not the cause of the great conversion on the Damascus road. Rather it was Paul's personal discovery of Jesus Christ.
What bothered Paul, as other scholars teach, was not the problem with "the works of the Law ... per se" but with particular aspects of Judaic religion such as circumcision, the keeping of the Sabbath, and dietary regulations. Fr. Byrne sees Paul's writings and sentiments as opposition to "an inflated sense of Jewish identity" and an effort to force Jewish ritual requirements on the people who converted from the Gentile world."
Scholars see the New Perspective as a charge against the core of the Reformation (the Pauline charism). Byrne describes it as "Gospel over against law, faith in God's grace against reliance upon human works. What the work and subsequent discussions and writings make clear is this: "we can never invoke the name of Paul in support of the old caricature of Judaism" (again salvation through work of the Law rather than relying on God's graces).
"Justification by faith alone" has lost much of its thrust as the central point of Paul's teaching. Now there is the opportunity to understand Paul in a way that "is congenial to Catholic tradition" says Fr. Byre.
On Monday, a look at Peter's charism ... so we can further understand St. Paul
Thursday, July 24, 2008
We begin our journey, our relationship with God, mindful of our own dedication and efforts to follow the Lord, living as he has called us. Then, at some point in time, each of us encountered our own moment when we bite into that infamous apple. That was the moment when, as Jeremiah writes, "You entered and defiled my land, you made my heritage loathsome. "
How often we see advertisements offering a "fountain of youth" to extend our lives. The responsorial psalm gives us a clue that offers more than youth, it is the gift of life: "With you is the fountain of life, Lord." This is where we repair the broken cisterns we have brought in our lives to quench a thirst that takes us away from a God that has given us so much.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Yesterday we considered Micah’s question: "Who is like God?" The answer? I am made in the image of God. Today, the prophet Jeremiah gives a further insight into who we are: there was divine activity in each of our lives even before conception. God knew each of us. He had a plan for you and me even before birth. From all eternity you and I had a place in God’s mind or, we might say, in his intention. He knew precisely when we would become a part of his world. We have been and are a part of God’s plan for the communities where we live, where we work and wherever we live out our life’s journeys.
Before we were born God in his infinite and divine wisdom had dedicated each of us to be, as was Jeremiah, a prophet or as mentioned earlier this month, an apostle. We were appointed to a specific spiritual mission for our God. If we take time to nurture this concept, time to let God speak to us about our mission, we might be frightened by the magnitude of this reality. It says, in essence, none of us is "just here" to take up space.
We cannot be overwhelmed or frightened by what is awesome. Just as God replied to Jeremiah’s fright and hesitation, God replied to any doubts we might have in living out what God wants us to be, to do. Don’t forget: he has promised his support. "Do not fear. I am with you."
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
Micah’s question remains: "Who is like this God?" We might respond: "There is no one like him, of course." However, there is: perhaps a surprise. You and me, we have been made in the image of God: we are called to be like God.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Jesus is attempting to explain to his followers what the meaning is in Luke 15:2 and Matthew 9:11. How could he befriend those who were known sinners and then share a meal with them as well? At times he reprimanded some because they lived the laws to an extreme and were very proud of their efforts. At other times he tolerated those who ignored the laws and seemed to have little interest in keeping the laws.
For the Jews of Jesus’ times this was a genuine challenge. Why? Because, as pointed out by scripture scholar Marion Soards, an expert of Pauline theology, "Judaism rested on the twin pillars of election and atonement" (The Apostle Paul, p. 16). God chose Israel as his chosen ones. To them he gave the Torah, the "law as the norm for Israel’s response to his divine election" (p. 13). A faithful follower of the Torah believed that he would be rewarded by his/her following the law and that he/she would be punished for disobedience to the law" (p.13).
The description of a farmer’s handling the weeds that had grown up with the good seeds, removing them from the same garden or field, made perfect sense to the Jewish people. It is a natural follow through of living the two pillars. But Jesus’ description of a farmer deciding to wait until the harvesting time stands as a surprise. And this experience is not different in our Church today.
Jesus is teaching a tough lessen to the purists among the Jews as well as the purists, the formalists, among us today. God is seen in the analogy of the patient farmer. God would in his time decide when the separation would be made.
This is a reality in today’s Church for so many Catholics. Some among us, faithful followers for sure, find it so difficult to accept a Church that has sinners both public and private. Some among us are surely saints. Others among us without doubt are sinners, folks who might not be producing a passing grade on their spiritual journey through life. Jesus could teach this because he knew that in the kingdom he was preaching, his Father’s kingdom, and, we can say, in the Church today, there is great space. There is room for saints and sinners.
Imagine, if you can, what our church would be like if sinners were dismissed, thrown out, because of public serious sin. Imagine, imagine this: we might not have had an Augustine; we might not have had an Ignatius Loyola. These are just two of the "greats" who have made our Church what it is. Might not one think even of the great apostle, Paul?
Too often in our Church today there is the experience of nailing a sinner to the cross and then dumping that person on a garbage heap. "Away from us, you sinner!" This is the easy way to resolve a problem. Toss it; it will not bother me any longer.
Why else would Jesus direct us not to separate the "true believers" from those so often called hypocrites? Listen carefully: "Pull us the weeds and you might take the wheat along with them." We are challenged not to forget that God’s mercy has more weight on the divine scales than does the justice of God!!!
Almost all of us experience this in our family lives. Most priests, no doubt, hear these words from folks who learn that a priest might have an errant sibling or parent: "Father, every family has someone like that." It is so difficult for those who struggle day after day to live a good life to believe that Jesus’ death and resurrection serve humankind as the two pillars at the entrance to the Father’s house FOR EVERYONE. And everyone includes the weak, the annoying, the embarrassing, the imperfect, THE SINNER. Egads! What a Church some might say!
The ultimate consideration of the reality of what Jesus is teaching and the reaction of some to it might be this: If the Church of Jesus Christ were as purified as some might like, hope for or actually think it to be, would there, could there, be a place for me?
Charity is no easy virtue, is it? Following Jesus what Jesus taught is truly painful at times, is it not?
Friday, July 18, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
On June 28th, His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, at Solemn Vespers celebrated at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Wall initiated the year-long jubilee year marking the 2000th birthday of the Saint. The year of Pauline study and prayer will conclude on June 29, 2009, the actual day assumed to be Paul's birthday.
At Vespers, Pope Benedict XVI reminded those present that Paul is much greater than a biblical personality of the New Testament. The Pope stressed that Paul was and continues to be a "teacher, an apostle and a herald of Jesus Christ."
Why a Jubilee Year? Besides the 2000th birthday celebration, His Holiness hopes that the year of a study and remembrance of the apostle and his writings will result in a "strong signal of Christian unity."
As anyone might sense from a reading of Paul's letters and the Lucan Acts of the Apostles, "repairing divisions is an urgent task." Paul understand our Church to be "the body of Christ" not another gathering of people.
Benedict is more concerned about what "the teacher of the gentiles in faith and truth" is bringing to our contemporary Church than to focus on historical events that are, in the Holy Father's words, "irretrievably passed." Benedict, the theologian, hopes that we will reflect upon how Paul's words served the development of theology.
Further, the Holy Father said of Paul, "His faith is not a theory, an opinion about God and the world. His faith is the impact of God's love on his heart. And so this same faith is love for Jesus Christ."
About Paul: Not one of The Twelve, this apostle was born in Tarsus which is modern Turkey. Scholars and historians estimate the year to have been 8 AD. He was brought to Rome Later, while in a prison in Caesarea, while writing his letter to Philemon, he attempted to secure a hearing before Nero who was in Rome. Paul was brought there where he was eventually martyred for the faith in the year 67 AD. His remains were found in a marble sarcophagus in the area beneath the main altar of the Basilica of St. Paul. Inscribed on the side of the marble sarcophagus were three words: Paul Apostle Martyr.
With this posting, Prayer on the Hill inaugurates what will be a Friday, Saturday and Monday presentation of reflections about St. Paul and his writings during the Jubilee Year.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Just a picture of what is happening "down under" at the World Youth Day celebrations. There's a full moon here tonight ... must be the same in Australia!!!" Seems Il Papa is having a good time away from Rome or simply because he is on vacation! One might ask, "Professional Good Humor Man?" or "About to Direct Traffic?"
Photo: Courtesy of Whispers in the Loggia
Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays will be reserved for reflections on the life and teachings of St Paul. As you may or may not know, Pope Benedict announced that beginning June 29th just passed the Church would be celebrating a special Jubilee Year in honor of the great Apostle, Paul, from June 28, 2008 to June 29, 2009.
Thus far this week we considered worrying, preoccupation and the challenge of a 24/7 attitude allowing something or someone to carry us all over the place except being at home with God. Perhaps the first two days can be summed up with these words: "I have an address but cannot be found there" (H. Nouwen, Making All Things New, p 13). The thoughts of the previous days make clear that much of our time is taken up by distractions and necessary work that we feel spiritually empty.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Today the response between the verses of the 94th Psalm is important: The Lord will not abandon his people. How can we fully understand our relationship to God who never abandons the people he loved into creation when our lives are so filled with other relationships -- people, things and work
Ask a senior citizen the meaning of "24/7." Most likely you get a face staring in wonderment. However, many 21st century workers see "24/7" as a fitting description of who they are. Those three numbers might best describe the way of life for many. In just three weeks, I have learned that most who work on this famous Hill wear the 24/7 pin on a jacket or blouse. Today most Americans are described as busy people. For so many it is difficult to think of oneself beyond an occupation.
Expectations and preoccupations are the beams of the crosses many carry today. Work, work and more work. Each evening, as I walk around the front of our church, I notice how many lights burn in the office buildings on the Hill. I marvel that so many can find the time to be present for the noontime liturgy so regularly.
To understand completely that God will never abandon us demands of us real inner freedom. How can we trust any moment when work and preoccupations weigh down 24/7? How can we come together in the fullest spirit to experience the presence and promise of God ... be it Father, Son or Holy Spirit?
We can discover the richness of God in our lives only when we afford time for ourselves to be with him. Fill a life to the max with the spirit of 24/7 and we prevent the freeing Spirit of God from finding even a small corner of the heart. Usually we turn to what is not good for our souls.
It is so difficult for contemporary man and woman to abandon oneself to God. It can even be frightening because we know we have to face our true selves. We cannot possibly understand that divine love when living a 24/7 existence that is truly not who we are.
By Caroline Gammell
Last Updated: 11:45AM BST 15/07/2008
The Vatican has asked for the exhumation of the body of the Church of England's most renowned convert to Roman Catholicism as part of his progression towards sainthood.
The Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman was buried in a small cemetery in August 1890 and Rome now wants his remains to be moved to a marble sarcophagus in the Birmingham Oratory.
The move, which is expected to take place by the end of the year, would enable people to pay tribute to him more easily and is part of the process of creating a saint.
The procedure has to be approved by Birmingham City Council and the Ministry of Justice, which was accused of "procrastinating" over the issue, but is expected to be rubber stamped in the next few weeks Catholics hope that Pope Benedict XVI will issue a decree declaring Cardinal Newman as Blessed in December, which would pave the way for beatification next spring.
The final step would be for the Cardinal to be canonised as a saint.
Father Paul Chavasse, Provost of the Birmingham Oratory, said: "One of the centuries-old procedures surrounding the creating of new saints by the Catholic Church concerns their earthly remains.
"These have to be identified, preserved and, if necessary, placed in a new setting which befits the individual's new status in the Church.
"This is what we have been asked to do by the Vatican with regard to Cardinal Newman's remains, which have lain at Rednal since his death in 1890.
"We hope that Cardinal Newman's new resting place in the Oratory Church in Birmingham will enable more people to come and pay their respects to him, and perhaps light a candle there.
"Many will surely wish to honour this great and holy man."
Cardinal Newman died in Edgbaston, on Monday 11 August 1890, aged 89 and his funeral was held in the old church a week later, on Monday 19 August.
More than 15,000 people lined the route to the Oratory House at Rednal, situated on the outskirts of Birmingham, where he was buried in the small cemetery along with deceased members of his community.
His new resting place will be in a sarcophagus in Memorial Church, opened in 1907, on the site of the old church, next to the Oratory House.
The Vatican has forbidden the announcement of the removal of Cardinal Newman's body until after the process has been completed.
Monday, July 14, 2008
- At the age of twenty, Kateri, despite partial blindness and other physical deformities that came with small pox, was baptized a Roman Catholic. Her mother was an Algonquin Catholic Indian who died when Kateri was a child in the small pox plague.
- Keteri's family refused to accept her Catholicism and relationship to Jesus. As the Bishop of Ogdensburg, NY wrote, "... Kateri became the village outcast." On Sundays, because she would not work, she was not given any food. In the village even the children would tease her. She was told that she would be tortured if she did not abandon her faith.
- At the age of twenty, she fled her relatives and spent two tortuous months traveling through difficult terrain to get to the Jesuit mission at Sault Saint-Louis, located outside Montreal. There she did much to help others, teaching and praying. She was a strong devotee of Eucharistic Adoration.
- Her health, never good, deteriorated rather quickly at the mission. She died on April 17, 1680 at the age of 24. Supposedly her last spoken words were "Jesus, I love you."
In the gospel reading for this celebration we read words that so fit the life of this young woman who gave so much of herself because of her conviction that Jesus was her Lord: "whoever loses his (her) life for my sake will find it." While not martyred, Kateri suffered greatly in giving her life to the missionary work of her faith.
Truly she has to be considered one of the early North American apostles. She lived the gospel as she had been taught it. Her life is a marvelous model for young people today who are often caught up with men and women of courage and daring.
While we live in very different times and circumstances, the Church gifts us with the lives of many saints and heroic women and men. Kateri was the first Native American to be Beatified.
No doubt she would be a very happy young woman today to see that concern that has recently developed for the environment. The Catholic Church has designated this young woman as the patroness of ecology and the environment.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
The well-known story of the Parable of the Sower was used by Jesus to teach his disciples about the difference, the tension, between what the traditional teachings of the Pharisees and the new teachings he was bringing to them. Jesus was not suggesting a turning away from God but, rather, a calling to turn to God, hearing and seeing his teachings grow in their relationship with him. Yet, despite his goodness and the seeds he was planting, there were those in charge planting the seeds for his removal from the scene. But Jesus turns to parables to help his followers because they are easy to apply to daily life. He often presents the parable models in the hearing of the Pharisees. However, he was experiencing the reality of waste and failure. The Pharisees "just did not get it." Their hearts were hardened by selfish, self-aggrandizing needs to control even people’s learning about Yahweh.
The Sower parable relates how much waste and failure the farmer experienced in his annual planting. As well it reflects Jesus’ own experience as a teacher, as the Father’s messenger. Crowds followed when he was providing meals in the fields or working miraculous cures. Yet as his fame and message became more widespread and more threatening to those who wanted power, the seeds of hostility were being planted. Ultimately, waste and failure would succeed in his conviction and death. We might say that his work to bring about the growth of the kingdom of his Father was like most of the farmers’ efforts to produce a good crop.
It was a story of waste and failure ... but only until the end. Some of the farmer’s seeds – his hopes for a bountiful harvest – are spread upon soil that has been well-prepared for a successful crop. At the end of the parable Jesus teaches that the usual 20% return on the farmer’s investment exceeded that amount by as much as 100%.
Jesus is teaching that apparent and almost certain waste and failure are do not always win. There can be an abundant harvest. He was as certain of God’s power, his presence, as expressed in the first reading from Isaiah: My word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it."
The story of apparent waste and failure and the plentiful harvest, thanks to God, is an expression of encouragement where there is seeming failure and defeat. Jesus was bolstering his followers as well as ourselves. Daily we might struggle against an evil or weaknesses in our lives that choke our spiritual journey. Getting up from repeated failures to overcome something that separates us from our God becomes more challenging. We can question why our crop of holiness seems to be both difficult and so minimal.
Jesus’ message to the disciples and us is clear: sow the seeds of a spiritual life in every part of your life and let the growth be in the hands of God. Be trusting: God will produce a definite harvest in your life; one far greater than you might expect because the harvest depends upon God.
As one spiritual writer expresses it: Don’t focus on the hardened soil, the soil overgrown with weeds or thorn bushes. There you turn inward. Rather focus on the good soil that is under God’s control, God’s care. There you will experience an extraordinary harvest.
Prayer on Capitol Hill
Friday, July 11, 2008
Interestingly, Jesus also suggests that an apostle must be "shrewd as serpents and simple as doves." That was the way he worked his ministry, especially in many instances where he stood in conflict with the infamous "scribes and Pharisees."
Today the Church celebrates St. Benedict. Recall he was born in Italy in the late 5th century, did his studies in Rome and then took on the life of a hermit outside Rome in a cave on a hillside in the village of Subiaco. Eventually he moved to the now famous Monte Cassino, south of Rome, and one of the major victims of American bombs during WWII. (The rebuilt monastery is today a major tourist site along with the cemetery adjacent to the monastery where many of the Polish troops involved in the war are buried.) Benedict is buried there beside his twin sister, St. Scholastica. Back to prayerful thoughts.
While at Monte Cassino, Benedict composed a Rule which brought about his repute as "the father of Western monasticism." Perhaps this composition can be likened to Ignatius Loyola's Spiritual Exercises. The two stand as pillars of modern spirituality.
As some Benedictine writers proclaim, Abbot Benedict insisted that his subjects realize how important words that we speak can be not only for ourselves but for those whose minds hear our spoken words. How fitting the responsorial psalm (51) as a choice for today's liturgy: "My mouth will declare your praise." It is a part of the invocation that begins the daily celebration of the official prayer of the Church: "Lord, open my lips and my mouth will will declare your praise" (51:17). Clearly and with some strength the person in prayer, especially those who realize their role as a messenger of God, realizes that his/her words can turn peoples' lives. Hosea's prophetic words in the first reading speak about the significance of what we say. The prophet, speaking for Yahweh, tells a repentant Israel the importance of God's presence in their lives for it is from him that they come to know what to say to others, "... because of me you bear fruit" (51:9).
So, as 21st century apostles, especially directing our own missionary efforts to those "faithful departed," we must not forget that what we say should come not from our personal thinking but from the voice of God that speaks to us in our prayer. What we can accomplish as apostles comes to us from a generous God who gives us the wisdom to be "shrewd as serpents and simple as doves." It is this gift promised us that should make us realize that our missionary work is singular effort. Let us go forth with conviction, with Blessed Assurance that Jesus and his gift of the Holy Spirit will be ours.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
The faith gifted you in your baptisms empowers you in your daily lives. I suggest that your faith can be likened to the "luxuriant vine" that will produce much produce if it is nourished well. A group as large as you are is a potentially incredible power for our Church, for society. Despite personal failures – which ironically become for many the key that unlocks the door of personal conviction – you are the vine that can offer fruit to various communities because, if you want, you are open to the unique experiences of God’s graces. Happenstance is not what brings you to God’s presence in Eucharist so often. It is because God has seen grace and goodness in you as the potential for drawing many others to Christ Jesus. This is truly a challenging and even a frightening thought. Do you believe me? I hope so.
Each of you has been chosen by God – again regardless of past failures or sins – to be like one of the apostles who names are recorded in the gospels.
You share in an extraordinary gift each time you gather round this church’s altar. Here you seek not just the grace of God but the face of God ... for yourselves and for others in your communities who are seeking to know a loving and caring God.
When you leave St. Joseph’s Church today, don’t forget this reality: you go forth as an apostle, as God’s messenger. You are his 21st century apostles and he is sending you to the lost sheep of our Church. You are the hearts and doors that can open a whole new experience of faith, grace and peace for others. Your life, your witness, your conviction empower you to be the voice of God to cure every disease and every illness that challenges others. Please, never forget your role as chosen apostles.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Today there is a very short line in the Responsorial Psalm Psalm 115, v 8 for today's liturgy that provides anyone serious about his/her spiritual journey food for thought or reflection: "their makers shall be like them." How does this relate to us and our lives today? What's it about? What is being made?
Friday, July 4, 2008
Thursday, July 3, 2008
St. Thomas is a man with whom most can readily identify. He is contemporary despite almost 2000 years. Questioning, doubting: he is like a magnet that attracts us. Paul writes about the "Church" as a building and even more than place it is a person, Jesus Christ. The Church he says is built upon prophets and apostles with Jesus as the capstone.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
From the readings of today's liturgy, we might listen for the message from Amos, the prophet and Jesus about how a follower is called to live life.
The last part of today's http://www.usccb.org/nab may provide a clue for us as the grace we might bring to our prayer today. I believe Amos and Jesus are teaching that the life of a follower, the life of a Christian, is quite dicey at times. It is so easy to allow some external activities become our faith. Burnt offerings were the fare of the day in Old Testament times. Great solemnities marked the faith life practices of the people. Amos, speaking for Yahweh, is quite clear: "I spurn your feasts.... I take no pleasure in your solemnities." Cereal offerings and stall-fed peace offerings meant nothing. Justice and goodness were the gifts, the life that God called for as a sign of faith.
And we can ask today "What does this mean today for each of us?" Perhaps the final words of the responsorial psalm are a clue: "Why do you recite my statutes, and profess my covenant with your moth, though you hate discipline and cast my words behind you?"
The challenge put before us is a reminder that our faith, our genuine practice of faith comes from our heart ... a faith that is lived out in goodness and justice. When the people heard how Jesus had drive evil from the lives of the demoniacs, they came to seem and "begged him to leave their district." It is very easy to recite prayers, to attend a Mass, but true discipline brings with it our personal efforts to welcome Jesus into our hearts and consequently into the goodness of justice that should be the goal of our lives.