for Sunday, October 1, 2017
God loves us! Completely and without limits God loves us. God wants our salvation. God is not a God who wants us to suffer for sin but instead God wants to save us from all sin. What is our response?
The first reading today, from the Prophet Ezekiel, is so clear: God loves us and never wants to judge us. It is we ourselves who create problems but God is always ready to forgive. For so many people in the past and even today, God is seen as a God who judges us and might condemn us. This is an incredibly wrong image of God. God only loves us! If we are condemned, it is we ourselves who condemn ourselves. God is always there, ready to forgive us and to draw us to Himself. We must rethink our images of God. Any image of God which includes any attitude toward us that is not completely love, is simply a wrong image of God.
Yes, in the Scriptures we heard of God being angry with us and we hear of God being upset with His people, but these are the images from the human side. Instead, the great Prophets and the great authors of Scripture always come back to this one reality: God loves us unconditionally.
That does not mean that God sees all our behavior as good. Our behavior is often not good because we are subject to original sin and we all sin. The question is whether we will accept God's love and turn away from sin. The question is whether we will accept as sin what God has revealed to us in Scripture as sin. Today many try to rewrite the Scriptures so that there is no sin.
The second reading today is from the Letter to the Philippians and is one of the most profound of passages in all of Scripture. Saint Paul begins by asking us: "humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also for those of others." The example he gives, however, is that of Jesus, who humbles Himself completely for love of us.
Are we are to humble ourselves in order to love others? Are we will to completely give up our lives in order to love others? What is the measure of our love? Do we love only to be loved? Are we willing to follow Jesus and live as He did?
The Gospel of Matthew today is very short and to the point: do we truly seek to do God's will in our lives? The Gospel gives us two examples: the one son who say that he will not work but in the end does work. The other son who says he will work but in the end does not.
To follow Jesus is to seek to do all that He asks of us. No matter how many times we have said "no" to God, we still can change and seek God's will and God forgives us our faults. But if we are always saying good things and doing nothing, then we are not doing the will of God.
Today we stand in front of God. Who are we? Will we say "yes" to God and not do anything? Will we say "no" to God and yet in the end at least try? Let us walk in the way of the Lord.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Ezekiel 18.25-28
Second Reading: Philippians 2.1-11
Gospel: Matthew 21.28-32
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: