“Then the LORD said to Noah: ‘Go into the ark, you and all your household, for you alone in this age have I found to be truly just. Of every clean animal, take with you seven pairs, a male and its mate; and of the unclean animals, one pair, a male and its mate; likewise, of every clean bird of the air, seven pairs, a male and a female, and of all the unclean birds, one pair, a male and a female. Thus you will keep their issue alive over all the earth.'” (GEN 7: 1-3)
Whatever is good (“the clean”), should be multiplied seven times. We cannot completely eliminate “the unclean,” but we can take care of everything which is good and multiply it. If for every one of our weaknesses we do seven good actions, we can change this world for the better.
“Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord; and my Father will love him and we will come to him.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not. Cain greatly resented this and was crestfallen. So the LORD said to Cain: ‘Why are you so resentful and crestfallen. If you do well, you can hold up your head; but if not, sin is a demon lurking at the door: his urge is toward you, yet you can be his master.’” (GEN 4: 4-7)
When we do well, we “can hold up our heads,” but when we are looking only for our own satisfaction or for our own good, we look at others as a means to our end; then the way we look at others appears selfishness. We can’t express honesty, love and care for others. The same happens in married lives–when we look at our spouses with love, our heads are up; when we look at our spouses with expectations and demands, we scowl.
“I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord; no one comes to the Father except through me.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD. He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: it fears not the heat when it comes; its leaves stay green; in the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit.” (JER 17: 7-8)
When we “trust in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord,” we can experience a totally new way of life. We can experience His presence in our daily lives: He protects, He leads, He comes with comfort and support; He sends friends and inspirations; He really takes care of us.
“Rejoice and be glad; your reward will be great in heaven.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“To the man he said: ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat, ‘Cursed be the ground because of you! In toil shall you eat its yield all the days of your life. Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to you, as you eat of the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face shall you get bread to eat, Until you return to the ground, from which you were taken; For you are dirt, and to dirt you shall return.’”” (GN 3: 17-19)
Sometimes we listen to these words about work and the effort it requires as a punishment (read: God’s revenge for original sin). Such a perspective makes us treat work as a curse, a necessity which destroys people, taking away their best years. But God, in His wisdom, made a work as a means to restore our dignity. Through the difficulty of work we can partially regain what we lost through original sin—our inner harmony. We should remember that work was given to us before the original sin was committed.
“One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, ‘Ephphatha!’ (that is, ‘Be opened!’’) And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly.” (MK 7: 33-35)
Our Lord started with “Be opened!” “And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly.” First of all his “ears were opened” because to communicate we need to listen first. Communication is about meeting others, understanding others and sharing our love with others. After this “his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly.”
“Open our hearts, O Lord, to listen to the words of your Son.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, ‘Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.’ She replied and said to him, ‘Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.’ Then he said to her, ‘For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter.’ When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.” (MK 7: 26-30)
Our Lord was happy with her dialog. She was so concerned, not about herself, but about her daughter. She fought for her daughter and was able to accept all kinds of humiliation. The same happens when couples are fighting for their spouses’ good, not for themselves.
“Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“But what comes out of the man, that is what defiles him. From within the man, from his heart, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.” (MK 7: 20-23)
How frightening it is—all of these horrible things could be in our hearts. How important it is to protect our hearts and make them full of gentleness, respect and the free, creative and joyful gift of self. When our hearts are connected with Our Lord’s Most Sacred Heart, we can bring so many benefits to our relatives and friends.
“Your word, O Lord, is truth: consecrate us in the truth.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“He went on to say, ‘How well you have set aside the commandment of God in order to uphold your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and ‘Whoever curses father or mother shall die.’ Yet you say, ‘If someone says to father or mother, ‘Any support you might have had from me is qorban’’ (meaning, dedicated to God), you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother. You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many such things.” (MK 7: 10-12)
Our Lord protects our dignity and our relationships. He knows how important family is, how much love of our parents can do in our lives and how much our respect for our parents is important for our relationship with our children. Good and strong families are crucial for the society.
“Incline my heart, O God, to your decrees; And favor me with your law.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed.” (MK 6: 56)
Meeting Jesus means that we would like to share Him with others. We take care of the most wounded people in need; for example, participants of our Programs want to bring the benefits of it to friends and relatives. Love always wants to share.
“Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom and cured every disease among the people.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.’ Simon said in reply, ‘Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.’ When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing.” (LK 5: 4-6)
“Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets”—this is about trust and about faith. When we bring our relationship to the Program I and You equals WE, Jesus will invite us put it “into deep water.” We could be tired of trying to survive in our relationship, but when we are invited by Our Lord, we can experience miracles.
“Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Gospel Acclamation)