Tuesday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time, September 24
In Jesus Christ, May God’s Love for Each One of Us Be Our Constant Guide for Choosing What Is Good in Our Daily Lives and Always Rejecting What Is Contrary to His Will.
“My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it” – Jesus’ response for all who wish to follow the will of God in their lives.
In our Lord’s reply, which we read in today’s Gospel, we are prompted to ask the question – “What does it mean for you and me to be Christian in today’s world?” And our First Reading today prompts us to ask a second question – “What does it mean to be Church?”
In order for us to answer these questions, we must first reflect upon what God is teaching us in today’s Scripture Readings.
It is difficult for any of us to imagine exile until one has experienced it. If one has the opportunity to speak to one or more of the many refugees fleeing various countries due to religious oppression or terrorism, or someone who has been displaced by a natural disaster such as those affected by earthquakes, hurricanes and other disasters occurring in various countries throughout the world, then one might begin to understand that the desire to “go home and rebuild” is extremely strong.
One might liken it to a strong magnetic force which constantly pulls on us to return to that place in our hearts which we call home.
In our Reading from the Book of Ezra today, it describes a step in the process for the Jewish people to restore their Jewish homeland, after their seventy-year forced exile by the Babylonians came to an end. In time, the Babylonians were themselves conquered by the Persians under King Cyrus.
It is he who allowed the Jewish people to return to their homeland to begin rebuilding their Temple. And his successor, King Darius, continued the process, which is the subject of the Scripture passage we read today.
In essence, the Persians paid for the rebuilding of the Temple. This “second Temple,” fabulously renovated by Herod the Great, is the one frequented by Jesus, the Temple which we read about in the Gospels, the Temple which one day would be destroyed by the Roman Empire in 70 A.D., about which our Lord wept.
In the process of the rebuilding of their Temple, the Jewish people were filled with great joy, which we find echoed in the words of our Responsorial today, “Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.”
Do we not also find peace and joy in being able to celebrate our faith in our respective “Temples” near where we live, parishes in which the unblemished Lamb of God is daily offered up in sacrifice, in an unbloody manner, for the glory of God our Father?
But we have also been taught that Church is not solely about buildings. It is not only about structures in which we worship together as a community of believers. Being Church is not about a particular parish or a particular place.
Rather, Church is about us as a people of God. Being Church is a truly profound reality, for it is about us as a people who, in our relationship with each other, form a community in which we profess our faith in a God who loves each of us beyond all manner of human understanding or description.
And both communally and individually, we also profess our unique and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ through our personal discipleship, not only in words but also in the life of faith which we live daily – in the witness which we give by living the teachings of our faith with charity and love for one another.
Our Lord speaks to us in today’s Gospel, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”
I have written about this numerous times in the past, but it is a point which I believe bears repeating – being Christian in a world, in a society and culture which seems more and more determined to embrace the lies and deceits of secularism, and in several parts of the world a radical fundamentalism, is not easy. And being Christian is more than observance of doctrine, precepts, and commandments.
It is first and foremost a relationship – a relationship of faith and trust in our God, and a relationship of commitment, faithfulness, kindness, compassion, mercy, and so many other qualities that bind people together in mutual love and unity.
And God offers to each of us the greatest of relationships – a union of heart, mind and spirit with Himself, the very Author and Source of both love and life.
God’s Love never fails, never forgets, never compromises, never lies, never lets us down nor disappoints. His Love is constant, unwavering, unconditional, and unstoppable. God is a Trinity of Persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and a Community of Divine Love.
That is why Jesus challenged His followers and even His own earthly relatives to recognize that God is the true Source of all relationships. God wants all of our relationships to be rooted in His Love. And He gives us the instruction of how to do this with the words in today’s Gospel –
“My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”
In Jesus Christ, may you and I find the meaning of true friendship and true love. In Jesus Christ, may God’s Love for each one of us be our constant guide for choosing what is good in our daily lives and always rejecting that which is contrary to His will.
And in our intimate and personal relationship with our Lord and Savior, may we live the joy of what it truly means to be Christian, and what it truly means to be Church in today’s world. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “[Jesus] said to them in reply, ‘My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.’” (Luke 8:21)
- “The Israelites – priests, Levites, and the other returned exiles – celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy.” (Ezra 6:16)
- “I rejoiced when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD.’” (Psalm 122:1b)
- “When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he said, ‘Truly, the LORD is in this place and I did not know it! …How awesome this place is! This is nothing else but the house of God, the gateway to heaven!’” (Genesis 28:16-17)
- “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
- “Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ…” (Philippians 1:27a)
- “Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ.” (Ephesians 4:15)
- “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
- “Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:9-10)
- “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
- “In [Christ] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge…So, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him.” (Colossians 2:3, 6)
Prayer for the Day
“O Lord God, my Savior and my dearest Friend,
I pray for the grace and the strength
to remain faithful to Your teachings
and to the Sacramental life of the Church.
“Help me to persevere in the commitments
and promises I have made to You.
Give me the fortitude to live up to the vocation
I received during my Baptism as Your faithful child.
“Help me to place love and service to You
before all else in my life,
remaining true to Your Truth,
not abandoning myself to the lies and deceits of Satan.
“Grant me the grace to be a holy example for others,
never abandoning Your laws for my own sake.
May I be a model of faithfulness and selfless love,
giving You honor and glory both now and forever. Amen.”Anonymous