“Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day.” (LK 4: 16)
We also, like Our Lord, keep our customs or rituals. We know how important they are. Keep your rituals, and your rituals will keep you. Our daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly rituals help us to grow and to stay close to each other. Why daily? Because love is a daily activity; we love each other every day. Why weekly? Because every week is like a new small beginning, and we have an option to make the beginning joyful. Why monthly? Because every month gives us a bigger perspective, and we can see the progress. Why yearly? Because we need to celebrate in the most amazing way the beauty of our relationships, our faithful love, and the fruits of our daily actions to protect our love and to grow in love.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.’” (MT 16: 23)
Thinking as God does is possible—seeing the world, our relationships, our spouses and children, our neighbors, and our colleagues from His perspective is the best thing we can do for them. We are loved unconditionally; they are loved, by the same God, unconditionally as well. When we are thinking like God, from Our Lord’s perspective, we are better spouses, parents, siblings, coworkers, bosses, and parishioners. And better coaches!
“Take my yoke upon you, says the Lord, and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl in turn gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.” (MK 6: 28-29)
The civilization of death yesterday and today is exactly the same—using others as a means to their ends. Mothers are using their daughters; spouses are using each other, their parents, and their children; children are using their parents. No wonder that this civilization is called the “civilization of death.” On the other hand, we have respect, gentleness, the gift of self, quality of life, and values bigger than we can imagine. Our homes are embassies of the civilization of life when we take care of our love.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’” (MT 25: 8-9)
I know the story, I understand the message, but still, I do not like these women to be referred to as “wise.” From the short perspective, we understand why we should be “wise” and prepared. But from the whole teaching of Our Lord, we know how much Jesus admired gentleness, sensitivity, and ability to share even the smallest coin or piece of bread. Let us be wise, but at the same time open-minded, looking for the bigger picture and helping each other.
“Be vigilant at all times and pray, that you may have the strength to stand before the Son of Man.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” (MT 24: 42-44)
This is part of our strategy from Program 1: Extreme Ownership, which means: be proactive, “be prepared,” take a lead, take responsibility. Love is based on actions, not emotions; love is a whole life attitude; love is being conscientious and focuses on another person—your spouse, your children, your friends, your relatives, your neighbors. “Stay awake” is about being able to recognize where and when to be proactive because we know why this is so important.
“Stay awake! For you do not know when the Son of Man will come.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.” (MT 23: 27-28)
We take care of “the outside”: how we dress, how we appear, how we show proper manners, and how we display the gentle gestures and behavior that are part of our home education. But, it is good to remember that true beauty comes from the inside, from our inner world: from the virtues and values we respect. Whoever is connected in his or her heart with God, “the love of God is truly perfected in him.”
“Whoever keeps the word of Christ, the love of God is truly perfected in him.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity.” (MT 23: 23)
Sometimes we have a natural tendency to go into details and lose the bigger perspective. We believe that when we “pay tithes,” we are correct and this is enough. Like we were so proud when we found time for meditation and at the same moment, we were upset because a friend of ours called us with a problem and took away our time for meditation. God is love and what we do to imitate Him is the best. All kinds of “mint, dill, and cummin” are less important than “mercy and fidelity.”
“The word of God is living and effective, able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Philip found Nathanael and told him, ‘We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.’” (JN 1: 45)
We want to share with others what we discover or experience. This is so important to share with others. The good we experience is not only for us, but it is natural for us to spread this “good” with others. When we share with others, we are creating common good.
“Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“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. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (`MT 16: 18-19)
We have keys to the kingdom of heaven. Well, not we, but St. Peter, but still Our Lord gave it to St. Peter and every Pope has the same authority. Our Lord wants us in heaven, and every Pope helps us to understand and recognize what is most important in current days, how we can grow, and how we can serve others. Both St. Paul VI and John Paul II reminds us, that there is no more important service than to marriages and families.
“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)
“The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (MT 23: 11-12)
To serve others? No problem; we do this all the time: working for our families, taking care of our children, our parents or siblings, helping our friends or comforting our neighbors, giving advice, or sharing our experiences. We serve daily. The only problem sometimes we have is—how long? When somebody will serve me? Will I have a good reward for my outstanding service? There is no other reward than the understanding that we are imitating Our Lord, we are doing what He did for us and for our salvation.
“You have but one Father in heaven; you have but one master, the Christ.” (Gospel Acclamation)