27 September 2020: Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
SHARING THE LIVING WORD
by Deacon Michael Demers
“Claiming the Gift of God’s Love”
Human nature will admit that something good for us doesn’t mean it will feel good now. Being Humble (not acting like I’m humble) is, not usually anyways, an enjoyable feeling. This is what Jesus in the gospel is asking of the religious people of his day, the Pharisees and the Elders. To become humble is to be truly holy.
In the first reading from Ezekiel (18:25-28) we hear that those who are virtuous require humility to return after falling into sin. We are also called to acquire humility. It is humbling to admit we may have done something requiring us to seek forgiveness. It can be even harder to look at the consequences of our actions, finding ways that we need to repair the damage we have caused.
We may want to blame God however, in the first reading from Ezekiel God says that we have ourselves to blame, not God. We could look for a scape goat, someone else to blame rather than ourselves. This we may find easier than to accept responsibility for our own attitudes or behaviors. Actually we are provided someone to take away our sins: the innocent God himself: Jesus the Christ. Thank you Jesus. We owe you everything.
It is our decision though to change or not. That is God’s gift to us of free will. When we HUMBLY accept that we have failed and need to change God will restore us to right relationship with Him and His Kingdom. But, we can’t take God for granted. No matter how established we may be as Christians we are still capable of turning away from God. Humility is a protection against thinking highly of ourselves or presuming we are always in Gods good graces no matter what we do or neglect to do. We keep in mind that humility is a requirement to enter the Kingdom of God. When we are willing to “change our mind” and do His will with the humility of a LITTLE child we, like the tax collectors and prostitutes who were ready to accept conversion, find ourselves entering the Kingdom of God.
God is patient and wants to give us all sorts of chances to return when we fall. The only one who ultimately fails is the one who won’t get up and try again. We do so with an honest, sincere heart. A heart like Jesus has is our model, our goal.
God is Love. When we love God back we trust him that he will always take us back. So we can keep coming back and continue to invite others to so…right away, the sooner the better! (Confession is always available for the asking). Why should we wait? We don’t want fear, doubt and self-will to prevent us from coming back to God.
We can strengthen our belief in a God who is loving, forgiving, understanding and welcoming. No reputation, status, opinion or expectation should interfere with us accepting God’s mercy. Believing in a God and his love is of ultimate importance. It makes a difference. Like the difference between the apostles Peter and Judas Iscariot. Peter, loved Jesus and trusted he would be forgiven when he sinned, Judas did not love God or believe in him and chose a devastating end.
For us we are asked to “Be not afraid” because God loves you! We can’t earn God’s love, we already have it! It is a gift we just have to claim. We ask God for help if we find ourselves on the wrong path. As soon as we can we change our minds and get on the right path. Change is possible for anyone willing to reach out to God. We share this good news of God because we believe that no one is beyond hope. Anyone may be changed.
So finally, humility is just seeing things as they truly are and not as we wish or think they should be. Humility is simply the Truth. As God sees Truth. We believe what Jesus says- that he is the Truth. We believe in coming closer to Jesus. We trust that the Truth of Jesus is being formed in us through the sacraments and His Word. We believe and trust that HIS Image, Truth, Reality is far better than any “reality” we can create for ourselves.
We seek and find The Truth, Jesus…when we are willing to grow in our knowledge and RELATIONSHIP with God. The first commandment calls us to that. Knowing God better is to know who’s image we are made from. Not what image we want to create for ourselves. This authentic image of God that we are seek. (Seek the Face of God) helps us understand and accept ourselves as the loving image of the Creator. That is how we learn to love ourselves by coming to realize how God already loves us. We become one heart and one mind in Christ. Through this experience we learn to accept ourselves and others. We respond by wanting to know God more which means loving Him more and at the same time, loving ourselves and our neighbor more. Love simply and dynamically continues to grow and completes us.
The only thing better than this is waiting for us when we pass from this life. What is called the beatific vision. The vision of being in presence of the awesome beauty of God. We will hopefully find ourselves in the presence of God where we will experience constant joy and love. Where every satisfaction or desire is fulfilled. That’s what all this is pointing to. That is the invitation and challenge Jesus is teaching the Pharisees and Elders, ………and us.