Tuesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time, July 21
May We Always Look Upon Each Other, No Matter What One’s State in Life May Be, as Our Mother, Brother or Sister, and May We Show Them the Love Which We Would Want Others to Show Towards Us, for We Are All Children of the One Eternal Father.
“Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” – questions which our Lord poses to each of us today, questions which guide both you and me into reflecting upon the relationship which we are called to have with our God and with one another.
For those who truly focus on Christ in our individual walks of faith, it is the hand of God which guides us in our spiritual growth and our intimate and loving relationship with Himself.
In my own personal walk of faith, there was a time in my past when I felt the hand of God guiding me in my spiritual and academic formation, preparing me for what I believed was my calling to embrace the Sacrament of Holy Orders. And during this period in my life, I would spend some of my summers working with the mentally and physically disabled and also the homeless.
No matter what their circumstances in life might have been, one could recognize in each person’s eyes someone very much alive, and, yet, someone who was the victim of either some form of a medical disorder or the victim of society’s greed and selfishness – circumstances which left some victimized and even homeless.
However, each one of them – man or woman, adult or child – is identical to you and me, in that we are all children of the same Eternal Father. Just as you and I carry our individual crosses through our life’s journey, they, too, were carrying theirs – albeit their crosses might seem much heavier by our standards.
Yet, one would never hear much complaining, for many of them learned to accept their condition in life, and they learned to make the best of whatever cross they had to bear!
By looking into their eyes, by spending time with them – talking and praying with them – I learned to see, in many of their individual personalities, a humbleness which you don’t often find in other people. Their humility was an acceptance of not only their state in life, but also an understanding – an interior belief, if you will – that God truly was with them in the midst of their sufferings and difficulties.
Physically, mentally, financially – they had some very severe limitations placed upon their way of life, but in the simplicity of their way of thinking, one could see in them what God looks for in each one of us. And Jesus once described it this way, “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.”
In time, I learned to receive each one of them as my sister or as by brother. And Jesus asks each of us to probe our hearts today, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers? [Who are my sisters?]”
When we begin to reflect upon these questions, it is only natural that we begin to ask ourselves, “What is the essence of being a Christian?”
It is certainly more than doctrine, precepts, and commandments! It is first and foremost a relationship – a relationship of trust, affection, commitment, faithfulness, compassion, mercy, and so many other qualities that bind people together in mutual love, unity and harmony.
God offers to each of us the greatest of relationships – union of heart, mind and spirit with Himself – the very Author and Source of life and love. God’s Love never fails, never forgets, never compromises, never lies, never disappoints. His Love is constant, unwavering, unconditional, and unrelenting!
Nothing can deter Him from ever leaving us, ignoring us, or treating us unkindly. He will love us no matter what. It is His nature to love. That is why He created us – to be united with Him and to share in His Love.
And this was the point He was making, the spiritual lesson that He was teaching, in today’s Gospel. For we are each called to be His mother, His brother, His sister!
Each one of us, both you and I, are called to be one with Him – sharing together in a loving and a holy relationship, which will guide us through the difficult times in life, which will ultimately guide us over that final threshold which each of us, one day, must pass – from death into eternity.
And we see this relationship between the Israelites and their God being renewed in our First Reading, as they return from captivity to the land promised them – as they return to pick up the pieces of their lives and their devotion to the God who had always watched over and cared for them as His children.
Today, you and I live in a society which sadly seems to go out of its way to ignore God by marginalizing the unfortunate, ignoring the plight of the poor and the suffering, who are oftentimes innocent victims in a culture which reinforces selfishness, greed, power and success – oftentimes at the expense of others!
As Christians, however, we are asked to love each other as we love ourselves. We are asked to imitate Christ in the way He reached out to all those who were suffering from loneliness and illness. He reached out with love to all those who were marginalized by the society and the culture of His day.
Should we do no less?!
Christ taught His disciples then, and He teaches us today, “…whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.” And in our spiritual life, in the way in which we practice our faith, we are each asked to become the extension of Christ in our world today.
Saint James, in his Epistle, writes, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?” And, in another place, he writes, “For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.”
In our life of faith which we practice on this side of Heaven, may we always look upon each other, no matter what one’s state in life may be, as our mother, our brother or our sister. And may we show them the love which we would want others to show towards us, remembering always that each of us are children of the One Eternal Father.
In the faithful practice of Christian love, prayerfully, we will one day hear our Lord say to each of us, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me…
“…whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” †
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
- “But he said in reply to the one who told him, ‘Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?’ And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers.’” (Matthew 12:48-49)
- “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.” (Matthew 18:4-5)
- “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?” (James 2:14)
- “For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” (James 2:28)
- “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are…what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:1ab, 2bc)
- “Who is a God like you, who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance; Who does not persist in anger forever, but instead delights in mercy?” (Micah 7:18)
- “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.” (John 6:40)
- “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)
- “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me…whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:34b-36, 40b)
- “For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Matthew 12:50)
Prayer for the Day
“Jesus, Loving Companion of Your children,
You have extended Your friendship to all.
You opened Your arms without discrimination,
offering Your warmth to those seeking comfort.
“Endow me with the virtue of such a friendship,
to know, love and trust all on an equal basis;
To share my friendship without prejudice,
and to be charitable towards those who are less fortunate.
“Fashion my heart to reflect Your qualities,Anonymous
those befitting a loving and caring spirit.
Jesus, You showed me the way to true friendship;
Help me to be more like You in the world around me. Amen.”