Tuesday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time, September 22
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 righteous in the eyes of God?”
In the Liturgy of the Hours, which is the official prayer of the Church, prayed at different hours throughout the day by clergy, religious and an ever increasing number of laity, there is a prayer which we offer to the Eternal Father which reads as follows – “May we be so dedicated to the service of others that the whole human family may become a pleasing sacrifice in Your honor.”
In a way, this prayer also reflects today’s Gospel Reading, when Jesus expresses very dramatically the absolute importance of building-up the family of God. Natural families are important, but Jesus also reminds us of the importance of building up the spiritual family – brothers and sisters working together building up the Body of Christ.
When our Lord answered, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God…” – Jesus no more intended disregard for His mother than He intended for us to literally pluck out our eyes if they should cause us to sin!
Rather, our Lord wanted us to know that, while it is always a good thing to build up our family life, we are also called to build up the larger household – God’s family.
In theory, this calling from our Creator to build up the Body of Christ makes sense. We have all been baptized into one body. We are all adopted children of God our Heavenly Father. And, as such, we become spiritual brothers and sisters to each other, and are, in a particular sense, responsible for one another. When viewed in this way, we develop an insight as to how we can experience a deeper unity and kinship when we see their needs as our needs and their joys as our joys.
That’s the theory, but what about the practice? We do not have to go far to put this teaching into action. All we need to do is look at our First Reading today from the Book of Proverbs. In it, we find axioms, verses which guide us in a code of conduct which teach us the mind of God when it comes to moral and just behavior towards one another.
Each and every person with whom we come in contact, not just family and friends, but also co-workers, even strangers – those who sit next to us in a movie theater or restaurant, those who stand in line with us at the grocery check-out counter – all are members of our spiritual family, all are our spiritual brothers and sisters – regardless of their race, color, creed or religious persuasion.
I realize that in today’s very complex world, with opposing ideologies and cultures, this is not always an easy concept to grasp, much less accept. For it is so much easier for us to focus only on our own family members and loved ones, even close friends. But each and every one of us is a member of a much larger family – a family which God calls His own.
We have 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 means 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 what 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!
In this way, we truly do become a righteous people – answering the question I asked in the beginning of this meditation – “What does it mean to be righteous in the eyes of God?”
When we find ourselves becoming a people filled with love not only for God, but also for each other, then we find ourselves, in this love, growing to become more God-like, growing to become more Christ-like.
And in this selfless nature found in our expression of love for one another, we truly begin to grow to become a holier people. †
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)
- “Make me understand the way of your precepts; I will ponder your wondrous deeds…Give me understanding to keep your law, to observe it with all my heart. Lead me in the path of your commandments, for that is my delight.” (Psalm 119:27, 34-35)
- “All your ways may be straight in your own eyes, but it is the LORD who weighs hearts. To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.” (Proverbs 21:2-3)
- “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,Anonymous
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.”