Thursday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time, February 20
Let Us Pray Daily for the Strength and the Grace to Accept God’s Will for Us in All That He Asks of Us, Especially to Love Others Selflessly and with Dignity As God Would Have Us Love.
“You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” – the last words we hear in today’s Gospel.
I remember reading a few years ago an article titled, Understanding Structures of Sin. It was a critical exposé printed by the Loyola Institute concerning the government of a particular country enacting laws which would allow children to be forcibly removed from their families, simply due to the fact that the children were of mixed descent.
The law implied that the parents, who were of different races, not unlike interracial marriages between Caucasians and African-Americans and Hispanics in our own country, were considered not to be capable of nurturing their children with the proper education and moral standards that the government deemed appropriate.
This law smacked of racism to the “nth” degree. And this social sin was not endorsed by just a few people, but by the majority of representatives in government which failed to recognize the dignity of every individual, due to their race or the color of their skin.
Sometimes, people can allow themselves to become so biased in their way of thinking that it colors everything they think, say and do. In this particular instance, it allowed the government to break up families, just because they were composed of mixed blood lines.
Did we not see this in our own culture here in the United States more than a century ago, when there was such hatred by many of the white race against those who had a darker skin tone? There are some areas of our country which are still anti-Hispanic and anti-African-American to a certain degree.
I know from where I speak, for I am married to an Hispanic, a woman who was born, raised and educated in Puerto Rico. And I have seen within our own culture how some people will take unfair advantage of those who are of another ethnic origin. Is this not a form of racism? Is this not against God’s Law of love?
“You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”
When our Lord made this statement to His disciples, He was also speaking to you and me – for we must always remember that His words are timeless, for they are meant to guide us in our walk of faith, words which are meant to guide us in how we are to treat each other, in how we are to love one other – regardless of race, color, creed or ethnicity.
And it is Jesus’ words which also make a profound impact upon what James was writing to the Christian communities in our First Reading today, when he says, “Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom that he promised to those who love him? But you dishonored the poor.”
And our psalmist, in today’s Responsorial Psalm, is praying a song of thanksgiving for the consolation which was received, “When the poor one called out, the LORD heard, and from all his distress he saved him.”
For those who practice any form of racism or biased preferential treatment in their hearts, they are denying the very dignity of man. No matter what a person’s financial status or educational level may be, no matter what the tone of his or her skin color may be, no matter whether they have an accent and are difficult to understand – that individual is still a child of God, a brother or sister in Christ! And that person deserves our understanding, our help and our love.
I am sure we all remember the story about the scribe who came up to Jesus and asked, “Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus’ answer was based upon the concept of placing God first in our lives, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Then He adds a codicil, a postscript if you will: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
We look at the world today in which we live and what do we see? – war, hunger, disease, homelessness, broken marriages. But mostly, when we take the time to look around us, it is not uncommon to see the poor in our midst – the hungry, the unwanted, even the undesired immigrant – a disheartening epitaph regarding the lack of love on the part of today’s society!
The love which God holds for us and which we are asked to give back to Him and to His children is undoubtedly a self-giving, a self-sacrificing, a totally unselfish love – a desire for God to be near to His beloved, His spouse, His children, and God’s desire for us to share that same quality of selfless love with each other.
For it is written upon our hearts to be near to the God who created us, who knitted us in our mother’s womb, as it is written in Psalm 139. It is our desire to be near to the God who has given us the gift of life and who has given us an eternal nature like unto Himself. And it is our desire to be near to the God who offers us all good things, and asks that we freely share His gifts with others, gifts which we have received from His Infinite Goodness.
When we look to Jesus’ explanation to the scribe who was seeking righteousness in his own life, our Lord is reminding us today of God’s expectations of us in regards to this concept of selfless love – love God with all our heart and love our neighbor as ourself – in other words, placing the will of God and the needs of others before our own. A difficult concept for some, to be sure! Yet, it is the nature of this self-sacrificing love which earns for us God’s grace and the gift of eternal life.
In James’ Letter for today, we read, “‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ then you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you commit sin.” In other words, if we expect to be judged righteous in the eyes of God, then we must first love as God loves!
In our hearts, let us pray daily for the strength and for the grace to accept God’s will for us in all that He asks of us, especially to love each other selflessly and with dignity, as God would have us love.
For the sake of our salvation, and for the sake of those less fortunate in our midst, we must do no less! †
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
- “Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom that he promised to those who love him? But you dishonored the poor…” (James 2:5b-6a)
- “…if you fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ then you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.” (James 2:8-9)
- “The poor one cried out and the LORD heard, and from all his distress he saved him.” (Psalm 34:7)
- “You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” (Mark 8:33b)
- “Jesus replied, ‘The first is this: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” The second is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.’” (Mark 12:29-31)
- “I will sprinkle clean water upon you to cleanse you from all your impurities, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts. I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes, careful to observe my decrees.” (Ezekiel 36:25-27)
- “A clean heart create for me, God; renew within me a steadfast spirit.” (Psalm 51:12)
- “In his mind a man plans his course, but the LORD directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)
- “You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, so wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works!” (Psalm 139:13-14b)
- “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
- “Since you have purified yourselves by obedience to the truth for sincere mutual love, love one another intensely from a pure heart.” (1 Peter 1:22)
- “…if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.” (1 John 4:12bc)
Prayer for the Day
“O will of the Omnipotent God,
You are my delight, You are my joy.
Whatever the hand of my Lord holds out to me
I will accept with gladness, submission and love.
“Your holy will is my repose;
In it is contained all my sanctity,
And all my eternal salvation,
For doing God’s will is the greatest glory…
“Do with me as You will, Lord.
I place no obstacles, I make no reservations.
For You are my whole delight and the love of my soul,
And to You, in turn, I pour out the confidences of my heart.”Saint Faustina (Diary, 1004)