Be a Beggar for the Word

Fr. Brian Pierce OP tells the story of a young Dominican friar, Jorge, who was a missionary in the state of Tabasco in Mexico. Every morning while walking to breakfast from the house he slept in to one where he was to eat, he noticed that an old man was seated with a Bible in his lap. After a few days, he introduced himself to the man, named Don Ramon and asked him what he was reading. Don Ramon answered: “Padre, I don’t know how to read the Bible, but every morning I sit here and ask God to give me a Word that will guide me that day. And every morning, God teaches me something. God has never failed me.”1 Don Ramon represents the kind of people we should be, begging God to give us a Word to share with people without hope, without Jesus Christ.

Richer than Honey

In our first reading from Ezekiel 2:8, God says to the prophet, “Obey me when I speak to you: …open your mouth and eat what I shall give you.” Ezekiel was then given a scroll covered with writing and ordered to eat, then go and speak to Israel. He ate the scroll which was “as sweet as honey,” and then went to speak the Word given to him. Our responsorial Psalm 119 is titled “The Glories of God’s Law.” The refrain that we sing is “How sweet to my taste is your promise!” The decrees and laws of God are the psalmist’s riches, inheritance, and counsellors. The promises of God are richer than honey.

In the gospel of Matthew 18, Jesus is asked to referee an argument. It is about “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” In the preceding chapter, Peter, James, and John had seen Jesus transfigured and then for the second time Jesus predicted his betrayal, death, and resurrection. His disciples showed that they had not heard what His Father’s voice and Jesus had said to them. They were not “listening to Him.” They were thinking about their rank in the circle of apostles. The Master called a child to himself. The child heard Him and immediately ran to Him. “Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.” v 4,5. In the Gospel today, Jesus rebuked his apostles for their ambitions. And reminded them that He had come not to save the ninety-nine sheep, but the little lamb that is lost.

Not Bread Alone

The Blessed Virgin Mary received the word of God through the angel Gabriel in her heart. She believed it and became the mother of our Savior Jesus Christ. Rebuking Satan in the wilderness, who told to Him to make bread out of stones to relieve his hunger, Jesus said “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Mt 4:4, Deut 8:3. It is through the Word of God that the Holy Spirit brings to our memory the words by which we can resist Satan. In Psalm 119:11, the psalmist says, “I treasure your word in my heart so that I may not sin against you; “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path,” Psalm 119:105. St. Dominic prayed, studied, and meditated all night in order to share the fruits of his contemplation with a sinful world, hungry for the love and mercy of God in Jesus Christ.


Before the crush of the day starts, we should try sitting in silence like Don Ramon. Listen and beg God for a morsel. A morsel, (his Word) to give to a hungry world. But we must have the humility of a child of God, which we are by virtue of our baptisms. Jesus told us in Mt 7:7 to pray daily to our Father in heaven. Ask, seek, and knock for that word to guide, teach and comfort, first us and then others.

1 “I Put My Words in Your Mouth: A Manual for Lay Preaching,” Fr. Brian Pierce OP, Fr. Jim Barnett OP, and Victor Morales

[Readings: EZ 2:8—3:4; MT 18:1-5, 10, 12-14]

Dr. David Cooper

Dr. David Cooper OP Dr. David Cooper OP converted to Catholicism 16 years ago and became a life promised Lay Dominican 8 years ago. He is grateful for 50 years of marriage, two daughters and 5 grandchildren. He is a retired rehab doctor with a passion for medical missions, having served in Thailand, India, Cameroon and Honduras. His current mission field is in the Texas state prison system where he is active in the Kolbe Prison Ministries. He also mentors men who are in Lay Dominican formation. [email protected]


  1. Jerry+DEMELO+Jr on August 9, 2022 at 12:44 pm

    Thank You. A morsel even keeps a dog happy – how much more we should desire it knowing it as the Word of God.

    • David Cooper on August 9, 2022 at 9:35 pm

      Even the dogs eat the morsels from the master’s table. (Syrophoenician woman) Thanks Jerry

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