Sunday, August 24th, 2014
A Prayer For Today
A Prayer for Healing, Understanding, Justice and Peace
With sighs too deep for words
We mourn the loss of those to suicide
We pray for those who struggle with depression and mental illness
We pray for peace and comfort
We pray for change
That we would not be afraid to talk about mental illness
That we would not stigmatize and stereotype
That instead we would try to understand
With fists clenched, unable to speak
We pray for the victims of state violence
We pray for Ferguson, Missouri, and communities across the country
We mourn with families who are grieving
We pray for peace in communities that are terrified
That their youth will be next
We pray for justice, we pray for an end to violence
For an end to racism
For an end to oppression
We pray in nonviolent action
We pray in peaceful protests and vigils
We pray that we, too, will change and work for justice and peace in all we do.
With hands on our ears
Because the violence of the world is just too much
We pray for peace in Gaza and Israel
We pray for peace in Iraq
We pray for peace in Syria
We pray for peace in the United States of America.
We pray in the words of the prophets,
Of Isaiah and Micah, for that day when
“They shall beat their swords into plowshares
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war any more.”
May it be so in us.
May it be so in all we do.
In the name of the Prince of Peace, the Great Physician, the Healer of All Wounds, we pray.
Author of Today’s Reading
St Matthew the Apostle
St. Matthew, one of the twelve Apostles, is the author of the first Gospel. This has been the constant tradition of the Church and is confirmed by the Gospel itself. He was the son of Alpheus and was called to be an Apostle while sitting in the tax collector’s place at Capernaum. Before his conversion he was a publican, i.e., a tax collector by profession. He is to be identified with the “Levi” of Mark and Luke.
His apostolic activity was at first restricted to the communities of Palestine. Nothing definite is known about his later life. There is a tradition that points to Ethiopia as his field of labor; other traditions mention of Parthia and Persia. It is uncertain whether he died a natural death or received the crown of martyrdom.
St. Matthew’s Gospel was written to fill a sorely felt want for his fellow countrymen, both believers and unbelievers. For the former, it served as a token of his regard and as an encouragement in the trial to come, especially the danger of falling back to Judaism; for the latter, it was designed to convince them that the Messiah had come in the person of Jesus, our Lord, in Whom all the promises of the messianic Kingdom embracing all people had been fulfilled in a spiritual rather than in a carnal way: “My Kingdom is not of this world.” His Gospel, then, answered the question put by the disciples of St. John the Baptist, “Are You He Who is to come, or shall we look for another?”
Writing for his countrymen of Palestine, St. Matthew composed his Gospel in his native Aramaic, the “Hebrew tongue” mentioned in the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. Soon afterward, about the time of the persecution of Herod Agrippa I in 42 AD, he took his departure for other lands. Another tradition places the composition of his Gospel either between the time of this departure and the Council of Jerusalem, i.e., between 42 AD and 50 AD or even later. Definitely, however, the Gospel, depicting the Holy City with its altar and temple as still existing, and without any reference to the fulfillment of our Lord’s prophecy, shows that it was written before the destruction of the city by the Romans in 70 AD, and this internal evidence confirms the early traditions.
Today’s Gospel Reading
Matthew 23:1-12 CEV
Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them.
All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’
As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’ You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one master, the Christ.
The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
Ezekiel 43:1-7 CEV
The angel led me to the gate which faces the east, and there I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. I heard a sound like the roaring of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory.
The vision was like that which I had seen when he came to destroy the city, and like that which I had seen by the river Chebar.
I fell prone as the glory of the LORD entered the temple by way of the gate which faces the east, but spirit lifted me up and brought me to the inner court. And I saw that the temple was filled with the glory of the LORD.
Then I heard someone speaking to me from the temple, while the man stood beside me. The voice said to me: Son of man, this is where my throne shall be, this is where I will set the soles of my feet; here I will dwell among the children of Israel forever.
Hymn For Today
Glorious Things Of Thee Are Spoken
Thanks Be To God!
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