Sunday, July 17, 2016

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Putting God First

Today's readings remind us to put God first.  In the first reading, we read of Abraham experiencing a theophany of the Blessed Trinity.  Three men appeared before him (Matthew 28:19). Abraham immediately treated these men with respect and made them feel at home. Similarly, we too much make God feel at home in our being. God will not force Himself on us. He waits for us to invite him (Revelation 3:20). This is why many atheists feel fruatrated that they do not have proof of God's existence. This is because they do not invite God to come in and show His wonders in their lives. We who believe must be like Abraham who asked the three men not to pass him by. This phrase inspired the Protestant- Gospel hymn, "Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior."  We must ask God not to pass us by and must welcome Him into our daily lives. If we do this, we will live in the presence of the Lord as the responsorial Psalm states.  We will be blameless and just.  Truth will be in the heart and the tongue will not lie.  We must not harm our fellow man nor take reproach, as the Psalm states.  God will be with the one who is honest.

In the second reading, St. Paul reminds us that we must suffer and must admonish and teach everyone.  We have been given the task to evangelize and bring to completion the mystery that has been hidden for ages. This evangelization is not only for the bishops or successors of the Apostles.  Nor is it solely for priests and deacons. This work is for all Catholics. St. Paul also says he us "filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of His body, which is the Church."  What does this mean?  How can Christ "lack?" St. Paul is not saying that Christ is lacking anything. His redeptive act on the cross was sufficing.  What St. Paul means is our participating in the suffering of Christ. Christ suffered for all, but He did not suffer for us individually as seperate persons. We have to put that part in as individuals in the body of Christ. This is why our sufferings are united to that of Christ's (1 Peter 4:13).

Lastly in the Gospel, we read of Martha whose sister is Mary. Martha is left to do the housework because Mary goes to listen to Christ preach. Naturally, Martha protested to Jesus about this saying it was not fair that Mary left her to do all the work. Jesus replies, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” Here Jesus is telling Martha and us today that the Gospel is more important than anything else. We must stop what we are doing to attend to the things of the Lord. Work, school, house chores etc are important in our day to day lives, but the things of God trump these. This is why we must set aside time to go to Mass, pray and study the Word of God and teachings of the Church. The things of God are first (Proverbs 3:6). This is how we fulfill the Commandment we read about last week: To love God will all our hearts, minds, soul, and strength. God is number one and must be number one in our lives.  May Jesus be praised!


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