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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Monday of the 19th week in ordinary time

Father Kevin MacDonald, C.Ss.R.

There is an interesting twist in the Gospel today if you are ready for it. Peter has just been confronted by the collectors of the Temple tax and asked if Jesus pays the tax that is owed to the Temple. Peter answers yes and then goes to his home, where Jesus is staying. Before Peter can say anything, Jesus questions him about what has happened outside. He instructs Peter to catch a fish and open its mouth, and here he will find a coin to pay the tax for the two of them. It is up to debate whether Peter actually found a coin in the mouth of the fish or that selling the fish was worth the price of the tax.

Jesus knew about the confrontation even though he was not there. This should not surprise anyone who knows Our Lord. Jesus knows what we are going through as well. This is the reason that we must strive to listen more in our prayers. Jesus is waiting patiently to speak to us, to guide and comfort, to challenge and encourage. But so often, our prayers are one way. We ask, we tell–sometimes direct–but we seldom listen for an answer.

God does not speak in an audible way. It has happened, of course, in the long history of the Church. St. Francis, for example, heard our Lord speak to him from the crucifix, but we know that God most often speaks directly to our hearts and minds. God looks for people attuned to the gentle movements of the Holy Spirit and waits patiently for us to give him the time we need to hear what needs to be done. It is called meditation or contemplation. You might already be doing it.  If so, then let’s increase our time spent with the Living God. The world is in such a need of prayer: our prayers. And we are much in need of God’s intercession in our daily affairs, both big and small.

The final word goes to “The Lady With the Lamp,” Florence Nightingale, whom the Church remembers today. Florence died on August 13, 1920, at the age of 90. It is worthwhile to read about Florence’s life and achievements. She came to be recognized because of her work during the Crimean War. She organized the medical workers and made many nighttime trips along the wards of the wounded, holding aloft a lighted lamp. Florence was ahead of her time regarding the professionalization of nursing, addressing the needs of the poor, and standing up for the rights of all religions. She worked for acceptance of women in the workplace, sought fair treatment for women caught up in prostitution, and fought for more attention and care to be given to the poor, especially in India. Today a nurse upon graduation takes the Nightingale Pledge, and the winner of the highest distinction in nursing receives the Nightingale Medal.  There were men who wanted to marry Florence during her long career, but she chose to remain single and devoted to her work and to God.

Today is a day to remember all nurses for their selfless care.

Blessings to all,
Father Kevin MacDonald, C.Ss.R.