ST IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA, P. (Memorial) White
Ignatius was born in 1491 at Loyola, Spain. He was wounded in a war which left him partially crippled for life. During his recuperation the only books he had access to were The Golden Legend, a collection of The Lives of the Saints, and The Life of Christ. These books changed him. Upon his recovery he took a vow of chastity, hung his sword before the altar of the Virgin of Montserrat. In Rome he worked for the conversion of Muslims. He is the founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).
First Reading: Ex 32:15-24. 30-34; Psalm: 106. R. v. 1b; Gospel: Mt 13:31-35
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP.
The people of Israel dwelt in Egypt for 430 years (four hundred and thirty years) before their liberation from that land of slavery (Ex 12:40). With this number of years, another generation of the sons of Jacob (Israel) had emerged. Also, with their mixture with the Egyptians for these many years, their faith must have been infiltrated by the Egyptian religion. Little wonder God asked Moses to introduce him to his people in this manner; “‘Say to this people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’” (Ex 3:14-15). So obviously, God already knew that his people had strayed from him.
In the first reading of today, en route to the Promised Land, the Israelites lost their patience waiting for Moses. Apparently, Moses took too long speaking with the Lord on Mount Sinai where he received the Decalogue (Ten Commandments). So the Israelites began to nurse a feeling of abandonment and decided to make for themselves a golden calf. The ancient Egypt practiced polytheism. ‘Hathor’ and ‘Apis’ were both bull deities in Egypt. ‘El’ was another bull deity but of Canaanite origin. It could be that the Israelites in making the golden calf took their inspiration from their knowledge of these gods. However, God took offence that his people turned away from him and his servant Moses to trust in a man-made deity.
But God’s anger did not descend on his people. God patiently guided and waited for them to gradually return to him; for he knew the challenge that his people had to face to begin to trust again in the God of their fathers. Repentance is a gradually process. As the parable of the mustard seed illustrated; our knowledge of God, our faith life, and even repentance always have a small beginning. And God patiently waits because he wants us to grow daily in our relationship with him so as to enter that Promised Land of heaven. On our part, we must not take God’s patience for granted; for we have no control over our life. To be conscious of this is a reminder to make good use of the opportunities we have right now.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord God, may we grow daily in our faith in you. Amen.