Show Your Appreciation to Christ

First Reading: Isaiah 7:1-9

In the days of Ahaz, king of Judah, son of Jotham, son of Uzziah,
Rezin, king of Aram,
and Pekah, king of Israel, son of Remaliah,
went up to attack Jerusalem,
but they were not able to conquer it.
When word came to the house of David that Aram
was encamped in Ephraim,
the heart of the king and the heart of the people trembled,
as the trees of the forest tremble in the wind.

Then the LORD said to Isaiah: Go out to meet Ahaz,
you and your son Shear-jashub,
at the end of the conduit of the upper pool,
on the highway of the fuller’s field, and say to him:
Take care you remain tranquil and do not fear;
let not your courage fail
before these two stumps of smoldering brands
the blazing anger of Rezin and the Arameans,
and of the son Remaliah,
because of the mischief that
Aram, Ephraim and the son of Remaliah,
plots against you, saying,
“Let us go up and tear Judah asunder, make it our own by force,
and appoint the son of Tabeel king there.”

Thus says the LORD:
This shall not stand, it shall not be!
Damascus is the capital of Aram,
and Rezin is the head of Damascus;
Samaria is the capital of Ephraim,
and Remaliah’s son the head of Samaria.

But within sixty years and five,
Ephraim shall be crushed, no longer a nation.
Unless your faith is firm
you shall not be firm!

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 48:2-3A, 3B-4, 5-6, 7-8

R. (see 9d) God upholds his city for ever.
Great is the LORD and wholly to be praised
in the city of our God.
His holy mountain, fairest of heights,
is the joy of all the earth.
R. God upholds his city for ever.
Mount Zion, “the recesses of the North,”
is the city of the great King.
God is with her castles;
renowned is he as a stronghold.
R. God upholds his city for ever.
For lo! the kings assemble,
they come on together;
They also see, and at once are stunned,
terrified, routed.
R. God upholds his city for ever.
Quaking seizes them there;
anguish, like a woman’s in labor,
As though a wind from the east
were shattering ships of Tarshish.
R. God upholds his city for ever.

Gospel: Matthew 11:20-24

Jesus began to reproach the towns
where most of his mighty deeds had been done,
since they had not repented.
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the mighty deeds done in your midst
had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.
And as for you, Capernaum:

Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the nether world.

For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom,
it would have remained until this day.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”



Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the nether world.

Christ pulls no punches when He explains to those to whom His gifts have been given what happens to the unappreciative, the unimpressed, the unmoved. These towns have been witness to most of His miracles, His mighty deeds, and they go unflinchingly forward in their old ways. No one is rending his clothing! No one is repenting in ashes.

Of course, when I read this Gospel, I shiver a little inside. Here I sit in a country with freedom of religion, when I can attend daily Mass, adoration, any number of beautiful liturgies in our vibrant Archdioceses of Minneapolis & Saint Paul. I can read any number of illuminating books and essays, turning my heart closer to Our Lord and an appreciation for His gifts to me, personally. The possibilities to both experience my faith and deepen it are seemingly endless.

I shiver because I do not appreciate these possibilities. I barely make it to Sunday mass and never daily. I veg out for an hour of Netflix instead of an hour of adoration. My plausible excuse and rationale? I’m an at-home mom to three small kids, pregnant with my fourth and sick, and my days vacillate between visiting the bathroom and arbitrating baseball card related fights.

Appreciation and adoration of Christ is not limited to the easily mobile and non-at-home-moms. I forget this and believe, and maybe you fall into this trap, too, that if I’m not doing all the things, I should really just take a break from pursuing any of them. I’ll be a super Catholic when I’m not sick. I’ll be a super Catholic mom when I can drive my kids from liturgy to liturgy.

Do it now, sisters. Do it with me, today. Offer up that inconvenient commute. Say a prayer instead of a curse word for that obnoxious coworker. Ask Our Lord to enter into your heart as you suffer a breakup, your mother is diagnosed with cancer, your offer on that house falls through. Little ways of appreciation, little prayers, these all add up. So maybe we’re going to be exalted in Heaven by our simplest of ways.

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In what little, attainable way, can you show Christ your appreciation for Him and His sacrifice for you today? A small prayer, a sacrifice, a smile for a friend in need?

photo credit

Nell O’Leary is an attorney turned stay-at-home mom to three lovelies. She and her husband live in the great city of Saint Paul. You can find out more about her here.

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