“Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also everyone for those of others.” (PHIL 2: 3-4)
When we apply this to our marriages, when we apply this to our societies, when we apply this to our parishes or communities—what will happen? When we “do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory,” when we offer a free, creative and joyful gift of self, we can change our world to be a secure place for our children, a friendly place for families and a place of glory to God.
“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, says the Lord.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“‘Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.’ And he came down quickly and received him with joy.” (LK 19: 5-6)
Everyday Our Lord comes to us with the same message—“for today I must stay at your house.” He knows perfectly how much our homes need His presence. With Him comes to our houses gentleness, respect and the gift of self; with Him comes joy—Zacchaeus “received him with joy.”
“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully.” (LK 14: 1)
“They were observing him carefully,” not to imitate Him but to have reason to judge Him. People will find what they are looking for—when they look for the good in another person, they will find it; when they look for a pretext for accusation, they also will find it. When we try to meet Him every day in the daily readings, we want to “observe Him carefully” to experience His love and follow Him.
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.” (EPH 2: 19-20)
Our Church is the mystical body of Our Lord and “built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.” We are “no longer strangers and sojourners, but fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God.” We are never alone, never abandoned, and never lonely. The holy Apostles with Our Lord are not only in Heaven but are always present in the Church. They pray for us, support us and lead us. We are “built upon the foundation of the Apostles.”
“We praise you, O God, we acclaim you as Lord; the glorious company of Apostles praise you.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones and also for me, that speech may be given me to open my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the Gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains, so that I may have the courage to speak as I must.” (EPH 6: 18-20)
So talented and chosen by Our Lord, especially for his mission to proclaim the Gospel to pagans, St. Paul asked for “supplication for all the holy ones and also for me, that speech may be given me to open my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the Gospel.” St. Paul knew that behind every preacher is prayer. Not only his prayer, but also many others—“with all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit”—because He is the One who comes when He is called and helps preachers to bring proper words to support God’s children.
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord. Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Jesus passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.” (LK 13: 22)
Jesus was always “making his way” “through towns and villages, teaching as he went.” Our Lord didn’t wait until we came to see Him; He started His mission visiting us. There are many ways that we can follow His example. The most important is to listen to His call—“He has called us through the Gospel.”
“God has called us through the Gospel to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the Church. In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband.” (EPH 5: 31-33)
St. Paul sees Christian marriage as a divine institution, which takes on a new meaning symbolic of the intimate relationship of love between Christ and the church. From that viewpoint love between husband and wife shows much more than only a relationship between them. “This is a great mystery.” When a wife is loved and a husband respected, we can expect a lot benefits for the whole Church.
“Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.” (EPH 4: 32)
Being “kind to one another” and even “compassionate” doesn’t protect us from conflicts, misunderstandings or experiencing distress. There is only one solution—“forgive one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.” How often? We know that we bring to confession, again and again, the same sins. God is never tired of forgiving us and loving us more. So, how often?
“Your word, O Lord, is truth; consecrate us in the truth.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’” (LK 18: 13)
Two persons, both praying, with different results. One—proud—didn’t see anything wrong with himself and expected from God only recognition of his excellence; the other—humble—looked at God expecting His mercy. When we pray, we come to God to worship Him, not us.
“God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, and entrusting to us the message of salvation.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“And he gave some as Apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the Body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood to the extent of the full stature of Christ, so that we may no longer be infants, tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery, from their cunning in the interests of deceitful scheming.” (EPH 4: 11-14)
“Mature manhood” is God’s project for us, a life-long process “until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God.” God gave us all kinds of help “to equip the holy ones” (from Apostles to teachers) for building up the Body of Christ, which we are. The goal—“the extent to the full stature of Christ” and “mature manhood”—means the whole Church and my whole life.
“I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, says the Lord, but rather in his conversion that he may live.” (Gospel Acclamation)