“We, though many, are one Body in Christ and individually parts of one another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them…” (ROM 12: 5-6)
Fortunately, we need each other because we are not complete; we “are one Body in Christ and individually parts of one another.” With “the grace given to us,” we can use our “gifts that differ,” and together we can do much, much more. Looking for the common good, we can grow in our unity, taking care not only of our mission, but also of our relationship.
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest, says the Lord.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“The willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not. For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want.” (ROM 7: 18-19)
Our poor condition: “the willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not.” So often we try so many times to do something good, but “I do the evil I do not want.” It happens within families, among couples and parents, within coworkers and in many other situations. God knows our condition and is always with us to support us, to help us and to bring us hope. Always we can ask for forgiveness and start again and again.
“Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.” (COL 3: 1-2)
Our vocation is not for organizing a perfect life here, on earth. We are called to be children of God for eternity. The most common way and common vocation is to be a husband or a wife. Marriage, created by God for helping a couple to go to heaven, “where Christ is seated at the right hand of God,” has all the resources to assist them in doing it. They help when we “think of what is above, not of what is on earth.”
“Rejoice and leap for joy! Your reward will be great in heaven.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“‘Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.’” (MT 18: 21-22)
Our question—“must I forgive if my brother sins against me?” and universal answer—for sure we must forgive. But the problem is not here; more important is—“how often”? And this is far beyond our expectation: “not seven times but seventy-seven times,” which generally means—always. There is no other way for us except to follow God’s word. If He says seventy-seven times, it means—no less. Fortunately for us, even if we are below these standards, He always is faithful.
“Let your countenance shine upon your servant and teach me your statutes.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ. So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.” (EPH 4:31-32.5:1-2)
Our Lord asks us today to “be imitators of God” as a married couple, as parents, friends, neighbors and members of community or society. Our LORD “handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God”, so we can “be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another,” making a gift of self, changing ourselves for the edification of our spouses or friends, and respecting their dignity and vocation. We can be “a fragrant aroma” for this world.
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven, says the Lord;whoever eats this bread will live forever.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today. Drill them into your children. Speak of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest. Bind them at your wrist as a sign and let them be as a pendant on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.” DT6: 5-9
There is only one name in which we are saved—Jesus, the Lord. There is only one thing He expects from us—to allow Him to love us and to love Him. And because we are human, we receive good suggestions about how to remember: “take to heart these words”, “drill them,” “speak of them whether you are busy or at rest,” “bind them at your wrist,” and “write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.” We need reminders to remember; we need rituals daily, weekly, monthly and yearly.
“Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (MT 16: 25)
It is like being a giver of self versus a demander, who’s making an insistent and peremptory request, made as if by right. It is like looking more for what I can do for my spouse or friends versus saving my life for my pleasure only and using others for this. We receive freedom to choose—“whoever wishes….”
“Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness; for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the Evil One.” (MT 5: 37)
Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God, knows the importance of words. The One, who “said and it happened,” invites us to take responsibility for our words. A simple rule, “let your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes,’” directs us to Him; when we mix the meanings of words, we come closer to evil.
“Incline my heart, O God, to your decrees, and favor me with your law.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Then they prayed, ‘You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.’ Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was counted with the Eleven Apostles.” (ACTS 1: 24-26)
Our Lord “knows the hearts of all,” and He prepares us for service in the Church in the best place for us. Some are elected to be apostles (or their successors), some to be missionaries, and some husbands and fathers. We are given different vocations and different roles but always the same unconditional love of Our Lord, who chooses for us the best: “show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this apostolic ministry.” We are His children, chosen to bring everlasting fruits not by what we do, but especially by who we are and how much we love Him and His Church. We are chosen to be not to do only. “He was counted with the Eleven Apostles.”
“I chose you from the world, to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.” (1 JN 4: 10)
God comes with initiative first: “He loved us.” His love for us is unconditional, total and fruitful. To cover all our sins and weaknesses, He “sent his Son as expiation for our sins.” We are invited to love one another like He loves, without demanding and without conditions. This is possible not because we can do it but because He can do it within us.
“Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord, and my Father will love him and we will come to him.” (Gospel Acclamation)