for Sunday, September 21, 2014
Seek the Lord! From the very first reading today from the Prophet Isaiah,
we are told to seek God, to seek the Lord, to look for the divine. Most of
us are fairly relaxed about seeking God and we get around to this religious
work without much stress. That is probably good. The challenge for us is
to realize how wonderful God is and how much God loves us.
Today's Gospel from Saint Matthew is trying to tell about God's love. God
does not care when we turn to Him. He always wants us to turn to Him right
now. Now is the time of salvation. Always the reward is the same:
complete love and acceptance and the forgiveness of our sins. Some
Christians in earlier times took this as a way to put off conversion and
wait until the end of life to be baptized. This is a complete
misunderstanding of God's love. God wants to love us now! God wants to
share His life with us now!
This Gospel account wants us to understand that whenever we turn to God,
God is there to receive us. God always loves us. Always. God is present
with His love inviting every moment of our lives. We want to live in a way
which responds to God's love.
The Gospel is also a teaching against envy. We can surely understand that
if we have been on the path of the Lord, we have given up various aspects
of pleasure and delight that the world values. The present values of the
world want us to think that we should always seek our own good first, that
we should have as much pleasure as possible, that we should strive to have
money and power, and so on. These are not the values of the Gospel.
Honestly, of course, we can admire those who seem to have everything in
this world. The real value, however, is in our hearts. If our hearts are
not set on God and seeking God, then all else is vanity and emptiness.
This is the meaning of the second reading today, from the Letter to the
Philippians: conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ.
The language of the Gospel and of the New Testament in general can at times
sound like an obligation. The heart of the New Testament however is not
obligation but invitation. Jesus invites us to know the love of the
Father. Jesus invites to live in the joy of the Holy Spirit. Jesus
invites to embrace the Cross, but only because we love Him, not because
suffering is good of itself. If we are to love completely in this world,
we will learn to embrace the Cross of Jesus.
We must be free of all envy. Others may have more that we do in this life,
but our task is to have hearts that are rich in grace and love. Come, Lord
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Isaiah 55.6-9
Second Reading: Philippians 1.20-24, 27
Gospel: Matthew 20.1-16
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: