Tuesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time, October 12
May the Love of God Transform Us Interiorly, So That We May Be Childlike in Our Walk of Faith, Always Opened to the Wonders of God’s Love, Always Opened to the Marvels of the Eternal Gift Which Await Each of Us in the Life to Come.
We read in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans today, “The one who is righteous by faith will live.” – words which guide us in reflecting upon this gift of faith in Jesus Christ, and how we live this gift in our daily lives.
Today, when I look at my grandchildren growing up and the decisions they are making in life, I seem to find myself looking back on my own youth. And I suppose many of us do the same thing, seeing our children or grandchildren innocently living out their different lives and, as they grow older, fulfilling their individual dreams.
When our children begin to grow, and they begin to notice and realize that the carefree attitude they once enjoyed belongs to the past, their expectations begin to change, for they begin to realize and understand that what was once a world of fantasy has no place in the world of reality in which they begin to find themselves.
And the same can be said for our journey of faith. As children, we are much like the early Christian community in Rome, embracing a new idea, a new teaching which touched their minds and their hearts in a very special way.
And yet, Paul was also cautioning them not to give in to the idolatries and the worldly seductions which existed all around them. For there were many in the Roman culture who embraced every form of deviant pleasure.
Paul writes, “While claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for the likeness of an image of mortal man or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes…They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator…”
The story of the early Roman Christians being instructed in the wonders of God’s Truth could very well be similar to what we experienced when we received our first lessons teaching us of the gift of faith which God freely gave to each of us. I am sure that we must have been just as wide-eyed with amazement and awe, as the early Christians were when they first learned about the wonders of God and the beauty of His Heavenly Kingdom and His promise of eternal life.
But time never slows down or waits for anyone. We all grow up, and, in most cases, our childhood is left behind, and the wonders and beauty of the faith we were taught and in which we were confirmed seem, for some, less important – for the attractions and enticements of the material world which surrounds us begin to drown out the voices of reason and faith within us.
The innocence of our youth begins to give way to the seductions of secularism and worldly pleasures. We no longer seem to be able to clearly hear the voice of God in our lives. And it was for this very reason that Paul warns his readers about the darkness that exists outside of their new faith; it was for this very reason that Christ rebuked the Pharisee in today’s Gospel.
“Oh you Pharisees! Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside you are filled with plunder and evil.”
But, even in the midst of His rebuke, our Lord teaches each of us what we must do to once again hear the voice of the Eternal guiding us on our life’s journey, “Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside? But as to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you.”
In other words, what is truly within one’s heart speaks far more eloquently than the words we outwardly express, or the externals which we live. Our Lord, in today’s Gospel, was exposing the hypocrisy which filled the heart and soul of this Jewish leader. And through his hypocrisy, he was unable to truly understand and live what God asks of each of His children – compassion and love, mercy and understanding.
God sees into the heart of each and every one of us. We may no longer be like the innocent children we once were, but we do know what our faith teaches us, and we do know what God expects from both you and me.
Even Paul, in our First Reading, makes it clear that there are certain inherent truths which we possess, just by virtue of our being given the gift of life and human reason. To slightly paraphrase Paul’s words, we read “…what can be known about God is evident to [us] because God made it evident to [us]. Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made.”
By reason, we know that everything which exists has a distinct order to it. And, in addition to what we know by reason, we have been taught that the very essence of the faith which we profess is love – love of God and love of neighbor. And we have also come to know and understand that our God is a God of Love, and everything He does flows from His indescribable Love for you and me.
And it is the example of this unconditional Love which Christ has for each one of us which sets the model for the selfless love which we are called to live in our daily lives for one another.
When we read today’s Gospel, Jesus certainly isn’t telling us that washing our hands is a bad thing. Nor is he telling us that bodily cleanliness is not important. What He is impressing upon us, however, is that it is far more important to be concerned with what is on the inside – for how we live and act as a human being is guided by what truly fills the heart.
Do we, as faithful Christians, allow the Love of God to transform us interiorly? Or, when we look at ourselves in a mirror, do we find ourselves only concerned with the external, only concerned with what is on the outside for others to see?
Since God knows the state of our hearts better than even we, let us pray for the grace to be childlike in our walk of faith – innocent, pure and joyful, with a selfless love for each other, always opened to the wonders of God’s Love, always opened to the marvels of the eternal gift which await each of us in the life to come!
And may the love which fills our hearts for Jesus also fill us with a thirst for true holiness, guiding each of us in our efforts to be more Christ-like in all that we say and do – not only for the benefit of our own souls, but also for the benefit of all those whom God places in our lives. †
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
- “[The Gospel] is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…For in it is revealed the righteousness of God from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The one who is righteous by faith will live.’” (Romans 1:16b, 17)
- “While claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for the likeness of an image of mortal man or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes…They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator…” (Romans 1:22-23, 25a)
- “The Lord said to him, ‘Oh you Pharisees! Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside you are filled with plunder and evil. You fools! Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside? But as to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you.’” (Luke 11:39-41)
- “God does not see as a mortal, who sees the appearance. The LORD looks into the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7bc)
- “Sin directs the heart of the wicked man; his eyes are closed to the fear of God. For he lives with the delusion: his guilt will not be known and hated. Empty and false are the words of his mouth; he has ceased to be wise and good.” (Psalm 36:2-4)
- “I, the LORD, explore the mind and test the heart, Giving to all according to their ways, according to the fruit of their deeds.” (Jeremiah 17:10)
- “He searches out the abyss and penetrates the heart; their secrets he understands. For the Most High possesses all knowledge, and sees from of old the things that are to come.” (Sirach 42:18)
- “Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.” (Hebrews 4:12-13)
- “So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.” (Hebrews 4:16)
Prayer for the Day
“O Risen and Eternal Lord,Anonymous
the Way, the Truth and the Life,
make us faithful followers
of the spirit of Your Resurrection.
“Grant that we may be inwardly renewed;
dying to ourselves, being born to new life in the Spirit,
in order that You may live in us
and guide us in our everyday walk of faith.
“May the faith we live and profess serve as a sign
of the transforming power of Your Love.
We humbly pray, use us as Your instruments
for the renewal of hearts, minds and souls.
“Send Your Spirit to enlighten and strengthen us,
so that we may bring the Good News
of Your Life and Love to all Your children,
as we faithfully serve the needs of the Body of Christ.
“This we ask of You, Lord Jesus,
You who live and reign with our Heavenly Father,
together with the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever. Amen.”