“Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Rom 12: 2)
How to recognize God’s will? We pray everyday: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Is the will of God for us to be holy, or to do whatever comes to our mind as God’s will, or to spend more time praying; is God’s will very detailed or just general, giving general directions not single steps? Of course everything listed above could be God’s will. We know that finally, whatever we can say about His will could be reduced to “love one another as I have loved you.”
Today we receive a very short reminder, a short instruction, to be sure that we are following the will of God: “what is good and pleasing and perfect.”
First of all—good, objectively good; what we do is right and proper: a good action. Second—pleasing, causing us to feel happy and satisfied: good emotions. Third—perfect; perfect to us today sounds like absolute perfection, but the Greek word here is “teleios”; “teleios” means “mature,” or “complete.” When we have good, right action (like going to church on Sunday) and good emotions (I am so happy being here; I am smiling and fully satisfied), we are mature and complete persons “content to be able to enrich the other with the gift of himself” (HV 9).
“May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may know what is the hope that belongs to our call.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God.” (1 Cor 1:27-29)
How dangerous is boasting! How carefully God protects the human being from boasting! Our good deeds, our good words, our good interactions and our support for others based on God bring beneficial fruit to the Church. Whatever we have we received from God.
“I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the Gospel, and not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.” (1 Cor 1: 17)
The Cross of Christ became for us a tree of life. His death has brought us life and reconnection with God and made us brothers and sisters of Our Lord. Our mission depends not on understanding the world and human nature but on belief in God, who created this world and human beings for a greater glory—living with God in heaven forever.
“John answered and said: He must increase, but I must decrease.” (Communion Antiphon)
“Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.” (Mt 24:42)
We know He will come again. This is certain. The question is—when? Our Lord says: “stay awake” because He will come very discreetly, only to those who are able to stay alert. He reminds us: “you … must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” My daily prayers, daily readings and daily Mass enable me to be alert and focused on Him. When He is always in my heart, I will be able to recognize Him—when “the Son of Man will come.”
“In the midst of the Church he opened his mouth, and the Lord filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding and clothed him in a robe of glory.” (Entrance Antiphon)
“May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” (2 Thes 3:16)
Almost every day the media news bring us information about conflicts and wars. Europe, Africa and Asia are in constant danger. We know that only Our Lord himself can give us true “peace at all times and in every way.” We can protect His peace in us also “in every way,” especially in our families by practicing gentleness, respect, gifts of self (do you remember: free, creative and joyful?) and rituals, when we protect time for us to share what we have in our hearts.
“Whoever keeps the word of Christ, the love of God is truly perfected in him.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through his grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word.” (2 Thes 2: 16-17)
“Gesta et verba Dei”—God’s deeds and words—are the way in which God communicates with us. Deeds connected with words help us to understand the deeds, and words help us to understand the message given in deeds (DV, 2). Like the situation when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet and asked them: “Do you know what I have done for you?” (J 13: 12) Also in our lives, our “every good deed and word” should be connected to make our lives, vocation and mission very clear.
“The word of God is living and effective, able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“We always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose and every effort of faith, that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you…”(2 Tes 1:11-12)
We could be the place of God’s glory. He made us into His temple, worthy of His calling and can “bring to fulfillment every good purpose and every effort of faith.” All of this with respect to our free will because we are in His image and likeness. We could be… The only thing we need is: “we always pray for you.” We need people of prayer, our true friends, who will take care of us and who will protect us by prayer.
“My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.’” (Mt 16:16-18)
Peter’s identity connects him with Jesus, is based on Him and His identity. The more we are connected with Our Lord, the more we understand our unique vocation, our role in this world. It could be as simple as being a married couple or more difficult like being a pope, but it shoulb be always related to Him.
“You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Mt 22:36-40)
Loving God and loving our neighbors aren’t separated. “The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments,” teaches us Our Lord. Love should be total, covering all dimensions: the heart, soul and mind. Our Lady, today venerated as a Queen, gives us the perfect example how to love, as a Mother of God and Man.
“At your right stands the queen in robes of gold, finally arrayed.” (Entrance Antiphon)
“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Mt 23:12)
Always a difficult subject: does he “exalt himself” or just promotes himself, is he or she humble or pathologically shy… The answer to these questions becomes much easier when we focus on how much we are connected with God while doing something. IF I do it alone—I am in danger of an excessive pride or a false humility, when I’m united with Him—I am protected.
“Here is a wise virgin, from among the number of the prudent, who went forth with lighted lamp to meet Christ.” (Entrance Antiphon)