Sunday, October 2, 2016

Reflection for the 27th Week in Ordinary Time, Part 1

Monday – Pleasing God not People

What is your first priority: pleasing God or pleasing people? St. Paul makes the correct choice quite clear when he says, “If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ.” But how would you have to answer that question if you were being truly honest?

It's easy to fall into a habit of pleasing people. After all, we want to be liked and appreciated. So perhaps we go along with something we aren't really comfortable with, or maybe we fail to speak up when we know something is wrong. We keep our mouths shut and our eyes down even when realize that pleasing people means displeasing God.

So how do we break this habit? First off, we have to recognize what we're doing, hence Paul's reminder. Second, we have to make a firm commitment to put God first in our lives no matter what the cost. Third, we have to pray for God's grace to fulfill that commitment. Fourth, we have to jump in and act. Speak the truth. Live the faith. Please God not people.

Tuesday – The Better Part

“Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” What did Mary choose? What is this better part?

Mary chose to sit at the feet of Jesus, to listen to Him, to talk to Him, to give Him her full attention. Martha was doing important tasks, too, of course, but those tasks took her eyes off of Jesus. She was serving Him, or preparing to serve Him, but she wasn't focused on Him. She had to concentrate on the jobs at hand. Mary, however, kept her eyes on Jesus. And this is the better part.

What's the message for us here? Should we just give up everything we're doing and enter convents or monasteries? No. Not everyone is called to that kind of life. But we are all called to choose the better part at least regularly. This means taking the time to sit at Jesus' feet in prayer and focus our attention on Him. This means listening for His voice in our hearts and being quiet enough to hear it. This means going to Mass on Sunday. This means reading and meditating on the Scriptures. We should all be choosing the better part, no matter how busy we are and how crazy our lives get because the better part is Jesus.

Wednesday – Father

Today Jesus teaches us to call God “Father.” This may not seem like a big deal to us. Many of us have been brought up praying the Lord's Prayer and have called God “Father” since we were tiny children.

But to Jesus' original audience, this teaching was new, fresh, and even shocking. Sure, the Jews recognized God as a Father, but He was the Father of their nation, not of individual people. Claiming God as one's personal father just wasn't done, for the Jews just didn't have that knowledge of His immanence and intimacy.

That's why Jesus had to teach them Who God really is. He is a Father. He is Jesus' Father because the First Person of the Blessed Trinity has begotten the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity from all eternity. Then, when Jesus became human and died for us, He became our Brother. We received a share in His sonship and become adopted children of God, sons in the Son, heirs to the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, we can confidently call God “Father” and mean it with our whole hearts.

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