Twenty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

Here is a profound reflection of a Jesuit Father, Pedro Arrupe that speaks to our heart…

“Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in Love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”

This is a meditation on this Gospel from one of my sisters:

“. . . their hearts are far from me.”

The Pharisees and their predecessors had formulated many rules, which they felt would help people keep God’s law. But the letter of the law can become everything, and its spirit nothing. Jesus challenges the Pharisees to recognize that they have gone off track. “This people honors me with their lips,” he quotes, “but their hearts are far from me.” Probably Jesus’ purpose is to recall the Pharisees to their duty—reminding them that interior dispositions have more value than pious exterior actions. Mark’s purpose may have been different, since he seems to have written for the Christian community in Rome, which was partly Gentile. Mark may have been chiefly interested in what Jesus said about Jewish dietary laws.

And what is the Church’s purpose in presenting this Gospel reading to us today? Although we might have the attitudes that Jesus warned against—exterior piety, interior vice—this Gospel could have another message for us: Where is our heart? Where do our thoughts roam? What do we do for enjoyment, and how often? Are we addicted to some substance or activity? A person can be addicted to far more than tobacco, drugs, and alcohol. Other addictions, for example, could be greed, envy, and other vices mentioned in this Gospel passage, as well as certain foods or favorite types of novels, films, TV shows, and other forms of entertainment. Not all diversions are addictions, but if they interfere with our responsibilities—the duties of our state in life—they become problematic. In all this, how much room is there for God? It’s a challenge to keep God in the forefront of our lives. The First Commandment states: “you shall not have other gods besides me” (Ex 20:3). Following this commandment can be difficult, because we don’t see God. Praying, reading Scripture and spiritual books, and contemplating nature or sacred images are all means of keeping in touch with God, so that he may never find our hearts “far from” him.

If you have enjoyed this meditation, you’ll find meditations on all the Gospels of  Ordinary Time in:  Ordinary Grace Weeks 18-34

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