July 19, 2013


Readings at Mass: Friday of 15th Week of Ordinary Time

Exodus 11:10-12:14
Psalm 116:12-13,15-16,17-18

In today's first reading at Mass we read some of the most sacred text within the Jewish roots of our Catholicism. Today we read of the Passover preparation. In fact, what happens in the Passover is so very important, God tells Moses "This month shall stand at the head of your calendar." All things shall revolve around this. All things shall be marked by this. At head of the calendar, all time shall be determined by this. In addition, God says to Moses about the Passover: "This day shall be a memorial feast for you, which all your generations shall celebrate with pilgrimage to the Lord, as a perpetual institution." It shall be perpetually remembered ... forever ... in this life and eternity.

The dramatic preparation for the Passover is given to Moses in great detail. There is no gray area as to how God wants His people to prepare. There is specific detail in the 18 verses outlining the Passover meal in preparation for the event of Passover. Why? There are so many stories of the Old Testament that seem to have such strange detail. Why? Why all the detail? Because when something is really important to us we want to make sure others get all the details. Likewise, when something is really important to God He wants to make sure we get all the details.

God gives Moses strict instructions for the Passover because their freedom is a big deal. God will act in dramatic fashion: haste-eaten unleavened bread, blood on doorposts, the death of each first-born son. God is not simply intervening. God is unleashing the full weight of His glory for the liberation and freedom of His cherished Chosen People.

With that as an introduction, let's review the week. Fear is a part of life, especially our lives. We are often afraid of the things buried in our past. The key to peace is letting God take the initiative in our life. We can trust Him because He only wants to enter our fear because of His concern for us. And, when we let God enter God always brings freedom.

As mentioned in the post written for July 4th, there is a difference between "freedom from" and "freedom to". I can be free from fear. I can be free from shame. I can be free from my past. Only when I am truly free from can I be free to. Once I am free from the above I can be free to love ... free to give myself to God ... free to receive from God ... free to love others. Freedom from that which holds me back always precedes my being able to be free to do.

God longs for our freedom. The whole reason we retell the ancient stories of the Old Testament is so that we can relive the truths contained in those ancient stories. God acts triumphantly through the Passover so that His people might be free to be in relationship with Him. Likewise, regardless of your past ... regardless of your fear ... regardless of what's buried, God wants to free you from so that you might be free to let Him love you.

Freedom and healing are one. In fact, Pope Benedict XVI writes: "Whoever truly wishes to heal man must see him in his wholeness and must know that his ultimate healing can only be God’s love." (1) Healing is a process. It happens in relationship. In order for us to be truly free from our past we must entrust ourselves to Him who desires relationship.

Be not afraid ... our God is a God of freedom. If you need a little more help in what to do next, try praying with my homily from this past weekend. Let's keep praying for each other.

(1) Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth, pg. 17

© Fr. Mark Toups, 2013



Today, the 169 seminarians continue their course on the Liturgy. Today the men will learn more about how our "spiritual senses" help us receive the Liturgy. The 23 priests and seminarians here for the Spiritual Exercises are on day 21 of the 30-day retreat.


"'Peace be with you' (John 20:21). These are the words of the Risen Lord. We hear them during each Mass, and today they resound anew, with the hope that each one of you will be transformed, becoming a sower and messenger of that peace for which Christ offered his life."
― Greeting, City Square, Guanajuato, Mexico, March 23, 2012