Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
Man’s heart is made for love. If one’s heart is not for the love of God and for what He loves, it will seek what the world loves for it offers many kinds of love: the love of money, of power, of influence, of pleasure, of convenience and many others. The (inordinate) “love of money is the root of all evil”; (the inordinate) love of power leads to corruption; the (inordinate) love of influence leads to abuse of authority and relationships; the (inordinate) love of pleasure leads to extreme self-absorption; the (inordinate) love of convenience leads to driving God out of one’s life and makes himself the misguided authority of his decisions and actions. The devil even uses the word love to deceive God’s people.
St. Paul praised the Thessalonians for their life of faith and love for the Lord Jesus:
you became imitators of us and of the Lord, receiving the word in great affliction, with joy from the Holy Spirit, so that you became a model for all the believers (1Thes 1:6-7).
Religion, as our life, has ways that we can reflect upon:
1. Religion is about our faith and hope in God. It means that we believe in our minds and hearts that He is the origin and end of our life. We offer to Him our mental, spiritual and physical capacities so that we can grow in wisdom of who He is in our lives.
2. Religion is about loving God. It means that we give our whole self to Him, that He dominates our decisions, and that we are committed to Him by obeying His commands. We cannot give our heads to God and our hearts to the devil; we cannot give our right hands to God and our left hands to the devil; we cannot offer our souls to God and our bodies to the devil. It’s not a contest, for with the devil nobody wins, but with God nobody loses. It is God’s life that we receive. It is God’s desire that all return to Him.
3. Religion is about respecting and loving man, whom God has created in His image and likeness, and whom God has made the crown of His creation. It involves respecting the whole of creation, maintaining and improving it for the good of all and to keep the proper balance of nature now and for generations to come. It means respecting life from conception to natural death. It also means that we are aware of the plight of the needy and the suffering, and that we become instruments of His loving presence and healing mercy. St. John said that if you say you love God but hate your neighbor, you are a liar.
4. Religion is also about participating and getting involved in the activities of the Church. The more frequent activity of our Church is the celebration of the Eucharist. The Eucharist is not only an affair to remember, but a life to be lived: a life of love and of faith, and a life that brings hope to families and to our community in the midst of contradictions in the world.
5. Our Religion is also about loving and venerating Mary, the Mother of God. Together with Her, we also remember all the Saints in Heaven who have given us the example of life in the faith and hope in God. Mary proclaims: “…. all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me.” Indeed, for many generations She has been venerated by those who have hoped for salvation. She showed us the loving heart of Her Son and, in Her many apparitions, expressed Her desire that all come into His Kingdom for “He has mercy on those who fear Him.” Our prayer to Mary and to the Saints is a prayer to God, for in their unity with God they intercede for us and for our needs.
Today we are called to listen to the cries of the suffering and the voiceless. We are called into the silence of our hearts to listen to those who are suffering because of hunger, wars, loneliness and oppression, and to respond to the need for the Gospel to be proclaimed to all.
Jesus makes us realize that it is not so much the evil things that we do not commit that will lead us to Him, as the good and loving actions that we do for God and for the people whom God loves. Let us celebrate the Eucharist worthily that we may go and preach the Gospel to all, and carry out our love for our neighbor.