“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)
“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)
“You who are ready at the appointed time, it is written, to calm the wrath of God before it breaks out in fury, to turn the heart of the father to the son, and to restore the tribes of Jacob.” (Sir. 48:10)
We are God’s children first. In the second place, we belong to our parents. Our parents have received from God the honor and privilege to participate–together with Him–in the extraordinary mission of transmitting human life. He knows how important is the father and son relationship. Whatever we first learn about ourselves comes from the father (and mother); whatever we learn about God comes from the father, too. So He takes care of this relationship, as he “turns back the hearts of fathers towards their sons”.
“Behold, I am coming soon and my recompense is with me, says the Lord, to bestow a reward according to the deeds of each.” Communion Antiphon
“…Everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life.” (Mt 19:29)
The Second Vatican Council called a family “a kind of school of deeper humanity” (GS, 52). House, siblings, parents and property, when given up for the sake of Our Lord’s name, brings us a hundred times more benefits. This is a daily concern of every father and mother—to prepare their child to find God’s vocation and follow His will, not to keep them for themselves. Everything “given up” for the sake of His name, for realizing my vocation and mission in the Church, brings a blessing and a life a “hundred times more” intense.
“Blessed is the servant whom the Lord finds watching when he comes. Amen, I say to you: He will put that servant in charge of all his property.” (Communion Antiphon)
“…whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me. ‘See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.’” (Mt 18:5.10)
God’s love protects everybody, but in a very special way the “little ones”: not only by giving them their Angels in Heaven, but also by identifying with them -“whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me”. Happy is every mother and father when they receive a long awaited child, happy they are even more with receiving with their child also Our Lord himself.
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; my word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it” (Is 55:10-11).
We are invited to be “fertile and fruitful.” In different ways, but still it is our vocation: for couples, the unmarried and the consecrated. When we open the daily readings to listen to Him, we change our life into fertile and fruitful. He only expects from us that we will open our hearts for Him and He will bring a word for me, which is able to change my life totally.
“The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower. All who come to him will have life for ever” (Gospel Acclamation).
“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother…” (Mt 5:21-22)
Being angry with your brother (husband, wife, sister, daughter, son…) is like killing him. How often we are angry because we have different expectations towards the other person, as he or she “should do” or “shouldn’t do” something, and so on.
Somebody said that marriage is not 50:50. Divorce is 50:50. Marriage is 100%. My role in marriage is to be a gift of self – 100%; not a demander.
“I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you” (Alleluia versus)
“The LORD called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name.” (Is 49:1)
There is no such thing as coincidence when it comes to my conception. Even if my parents did not expect my appearance. We are “called from birth”. And He had a name for me from the very beginning. With my name came also all my talents, special place in God’s plan, the good that has come through me and all other beautiful things. I was named by God when no one even had an idea of my existence.
We are so infinitely important for Him, that He gave us His beloved Son for our eternal life.
“God did not spare his own Son, but handed him over for all of us” (Rom 8:32) – Communion Antiphon
“Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures: the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes?” (Mt 21:42).
The rejected stone. How often does it happen in our life. Rejected by the others, and even rejected by ourselves:“it’s not for me,” “I shouldn’t even try,” “I’ve done really nothing,” “there is nothing to talk about,” and many others. Maybe my parents failed to tell me how wonderful I am, because their parents had failed to tell it to them, because their parents…
God recognizes in us our dignity, talents, potential and the beautiful things He can build with us as stones. In His eyes I can always find the truth about me. Only He can look at me not through my limitations, but through my origin – I am His child.
“God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son; so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.” (Verse before the Gospel)
“You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” (Mt 5:21-22)
Practice makes one perfect. Such an easy beginning, such simple steps: first just “angry”, and later just a simple comment – “you fool”. After all, it’s not a big deal, is it? For us. Not for Him. He knows the consequences: a damaged child, then – a teenager hungry for love and acceptance, later – a demanding husband/wife, and in the end – a parent dissatisfied with the progress of his child. And the training for the next generation of professional killers starts again.
Or… send a text message to your child(ren) – how happy you are being a parent of the best child ever.
“Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, says the Lord, and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit” (Verse before the Gospel).