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Wednesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

​​ My dear encountered couples:

Jesus did not send his apostles to convert people who were not Jews. He did not send them to inspire Jews who already loved God. “Go instead,” he told them, “after the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Jesus sent his twelve apostles off on a mission to bring back to the faith any Jews who might have fallen away.

We might not give that much thought. We might think all Jews prayed a lot and kept the law of Moses as well as they could. But we can expect there were fallen-away Jews just as there are fallen-away Catholics. It would be nice that once converted, always converted, but it doesn’t work that way. How many of us here might someday give up our faith? Terrible thought, isn’t it? But how many Catholics are there who once came to Mass every day, who once supped at the Lord’s table every morning, who no longer do so? How many don’t even believe in the divinity of Christ anymore?

Faith is something that needs to be nourished. Not merely with routine Mass attendance or a schedule of prayers, but nourished and re-nourished consciously in our minds and hearts. We must often, with complete awareness of what it is we are doing, remind ourselves of God’s goodness to us and how lost we would be without him.

God is the beginning and the end and the in-between of our everything. We must never let ourselves forget that. Without God’s love, without CONSCIOUSLY thanking him and showing him love in return, our faith can weaken and we can unawares lose it.

Practice your faith, but consciously, not merely from habit or routine. “Go after the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” Jesus told the apostles. Pray that you never become one of those lost or strayed sheep. For there, but for the grace of God, can we go.

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