Sunday, October 23, 2016

Reflection for the 30th Week in Ordinary Time, Part 1

Monday – Thanksgiving

In today's first reading, St. Paul tells us what we should and should not talk about. First let's look at the “should not.” We should not even mention immorality or impurity or greed. Immoral words (the Greek word here refers to sexual immorality) must not cross our lips, nor should impure words (the Greek word can refer to lust but also uncleanness or luxuriant living). We should not speak with an attitude of greed (I want; I want; I want.). Further, we ought to avoid obscenities or any talk that is foolish or crude.

Now pause and think for a moment. Have you always observed Paul's “should not” list? Most of us would have to answer with an honest no. Often words flow from our lips before we even stop to think what we're saying, and then we say things we shouldn't.

We should be grateful that God forgives our slips and stumbles and always allows us another chance.

What kind of talk, then, is on Paul's “should” list? Thanksgiving. Our speech should be filled with thanksgiving. We must recognize our blessings and express gratitude for them. And Who is it that gives all these blessings? Who gives us everything we have and everything we are? God of course! So this talk of thanksgiving (in Greek eucharistia – look familiar?) is really talk about God. We thank Him; we praise Him; we pray for more blessings to be thankful for; we speak to Him about our daily lives, our joys and sorrows; we proclaim Him to others. And we do all of this with well-trained tongues and grateful hearts that the whole world may learn to thank God, too.

(Information about Greek vocabulary comes from HELPS Word Studies on 

Tuesday – Husbands and Wives

Today's first reading tends to make many modern women rather annoyed. What's all this talk about submitting to a husband? It's simply more than a liberated woman can tolerate.

Or is it?

Unfortunately, many women see the word “submit,” take offense, and quit reading right there. And so they miss Paul's whole point.

If we read a little further, we discover the husband's duty, and he has the more difficult task. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the Church. And what did Christ do for the Church? He died for her. A husband, then, is to love his wife so completely and so strongly that he would do anything for her, even die for her. This is true self-giving love, love that puts the other person first, wills the absolute best for her, and does everything possible to help her achieve that absolute best.

What wife wouldn't want to be loved like that? What wife wouldn't put her self under such a love? What wife wouldn't be willing to submit to a husband who truly loved her like that? How could she not trust that her husband would only want and do what is absolutely best for her, that he would protect her and love her even unto death?

This is love and marriage as God designed it.

Wednesday – The Narrow Gate

Lord, guide me on the path that leads to the narrow gate.
This is the path of the sacraments; may I always receive them worthily.
This is the path of prayer; may I pray continually.
This is the path of the Scriptures; may I read them with devotion and an open heart.
This is the path of the moral law; may I follow it unfailingly.
This is the path of virtue; may I grow strong in every virtue.
This is the path of intimacy with You; may our relationship become ever deeper.
This is the path of love; may I love You and my neighbor with an ever increasing love.
This is the path to Heaven; lead me to eternal joy.

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