Sunday, July 2, 2017

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time: God is More Important

This week's readings have had a common theme regarding discipleship. We are all disciples of the Lord.  During Ordinary Time, we are taught directly from Christ in the readings.  There is nothing ordinary about Ordinary Time. While the other seasons of the Liturgy are focused on the events of salvific history, Ordinary Time focuses on Jesus' teachings. Today's readings remind us of the importance God has in our lives and how we must welcome those who preach the Lord to us and make them feel at home.

The first reading tells us of Elisha, the prophet. A woman of influence was having trouble conceiving. This woman would dine with Elisha for quite some time. One day, she invited Elisha to stay over.  The woman prepared a room for Elisha and furnished it.  She wanted Elisha to feel at home.  Elisha appreciated the gesture and asked his servant Gehazi if there was something he could do for the woman.  His servant told Elisha that the woman and her husband had no son.  Elisha asked for the woman and told her that in the next year, she would have a baby son. Here we see how God rewards those who help others.  God will repay whatever we spend on others. I know this from personal experience. I am sure that you reading this have had your share of moments when you literally saw how God rewarded you for a good act.  This is why it is important to help others whether they are a friend, part of the family or stranger.  I understand that we live in a world with lots of crazy people who do harm.

However, we must be helpful always without forgetting to be smart about it. God does not want us to put ourselves in harms way in order to help others. We must let God present the moment. My uncle who is a permanent deacon learned this the hard way. While setting up equipment at his former parish. He was approached by a local woman who was known by the neighborhood as a homeless person.  She would often stand at the now defunct supermarket Met Foods in Little Italy in the Bronx and open the door for people hoping to get a quarter. Well, this time, she came to the parish asking for help. My uncle got her some food for her.  Instead of being grateful, she slammed the food on the sidewalk and began cursing at my uncle. These are things that happen. This is why I say that we must be careful when helping others. We must analyze the situation first.  God will present the opportunity for grace to us. We should not go look for it. As the saying goes, "don't try to be a hero."  God will set everything up and will reward us based on how we responded. This is why I constantly ask fellow Catholics and others to help me run this ministry. I trust and hope that those who visit my site or read my content will be generous and will donate.  God truly rewards when we give.  This is why today's responsorial Psalm says that we will sing the goodness of the Lord.

God's goodness will be visible in our lives if we trust Him and do good things.  Being a Catholic is not just going to Mass, praying, receiving the Sacraments and what not.  We must do good works (Matthew 25:35-40).  This does not mean that we must go out there like St. Francis or St. Teresa of Calcutta. What this means is that we must look for when God presents an opportunity for us to help another person in any way that is of course moral. There will be those who will criticize us. On social media, I see how some people who call themselves Christian cry foul when others help refugees or those who seek help.  Our job is not the judge the character of others or if they are deceiving us.  What God expects is for us to help in His name.  As the second reading tells us, we were baptized into Christ. We died and were buried with Him.  We are now part of Christ's Body, the Catholic Church.  We must be dead to sin; dead to the world and alive in Christ.  The world will hate us for this.  Let it.  Spoiler Alert: Christ wins in the end. Those of us who remained faithful will win as well (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

Lastly, in the Gospel, Jesus reminds us that we must love Him above everyone else, including parents. I know this is hard. Our parents brought us into the world, raised us and introduced us to what it means to be a human being in society. To love anyone more then they is absurd.   Our parents are so important that we even have two days in the year to honor them (Mother's/Father's day). However, Christ is above them. Christ is God; the second person of the Blessed Trinity.  While our parents are important, they would not exist had it not been for God.  We would not exist had it been for God.  God is the source of all that exists.  He is the creator. No one can be above the creator.  No one can be more important.  We who chose Christ must take up our crosses and love God above all things.  Last month, many celebrated the so-called "Pride" month which honors the LGBTQ agenda.  It shocks me the amount of Catholics who disregard the Church's teachings on homosexuality because they have a relative or friend who is LGBTQ. These Catholics even support so-called same-sex marriage.  We cannot love this world and God at the same time.  Jesus tells us today that we cannot love anyone more than He.  We cannot call ourselves Catholics and avoid carrying the cross.

The pop singer Ariana Grande made headlines a few years ago for abandoning the Catholic faith (see:  She claims that since her brother is gay and the Church teaches that the gay lifestyle is wrong, that she cannot be Catholic anymore.  The idea goes against the Gospel today. She loves her brother more than Christ.  We can pretty much assume that she is destined for hell if she does not repent. Those of us who claim to be catholic but love others more that God are disobeying Christ.  If our friends or relatives are gay or are participating in something that is counter-God, we must rebuke them and invite them to center themselves back to reality with Christ.  Moreover, Jesus says that those who find their lives will lose it.  This means that those who believe they have succeeded in life and did it without acknowledging God, will lose that life.  All things come from God, including wealth. Those who lose their lives for God's sake will find it.  This means that those of us who deny this world and what it offers will earn the true life in heaven with Christ.

As stated before, we must welcome disciples of the Lord. This means one another.  If we receive them, we receive Christ.  We must be welcoming of our clergy, religious and fellow lay people.  We will be rewarded for this.  I try hard to be a disciple of the Lord by evangelizing here and offline. I hope my fellow Catholics will welcome me and help me in regards to running this evangelization effort.  In light of this, I ask you to please be generous and help me.  If I come into your computer, devices and home via my content as a postmodern prophet of the Lord, please do not forget the cold cup of water, so to speak, and help me run this ministry by donating or becoming a regular patron. God will reward you for this. You are helping spread His Word.

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Let us continue to help one another as Christ expects us to do and let us remember to put God above everyone else (John 13:35, Mark 12:30-31). No one is more important that God.  May Jesus Christ be praised!



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