31st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Fr. Francis)
Dear Brothers and in Christ Jesus,
Going through today’s gospel passage, I felt that the gospel passage was offering a shortcut! A Shortcut to Self -actualization and the short cut is somewhat like this: Know the Truth! Accept the Truth! Follow the Truth!
To Know the Truth, Search for the Truth. And you will find the Truth in Jesus. If you find Him, accept Him and then follow Him. Then you are safe. The Truth Jesus shared/ revealed was simple: Love your God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself.
The Scribe who went and met Jesus was at crossroads, confused! He wanted to know God, and get enlightened. But he was entangled in the constraints of the religion! But he started searching. He found the truth in Jesus. He accepted Jesus and started following him.
Why we are hesitant to search, find and follow?
There is a demon that influences us often. We come under his magic spell at times. The demon is an attitude! “I/we-know everything” attitude! We operate often with this attitude, we-know-everything attitude! We have to get rid of this demon sitting in our heads. The simple reason is that we cannot be open minded as we come from a structure ‘we-know –everything’, and we may fail to consider even those issues unknown to us!
A story about a learned man who went to a monk to learn more! The monk received him in the monastery and ordered for tea. As the tea came, the monk himself started pouring the tea into the cup for the guest. He filled the cup up to the brim, still continued to pour into the cup. Finally the man broke the silence, “Why Sir? the cup is full, why you still continue to pour and waste the tea?” Monk Replied, “My son, your mind is too full like the filled cup. Empty your mind, then you will be able to see and learn more.” We all are in need of self- emptying a bit like the learned man who met the Monk or like the scribes who wanted to know the truth, asked Jesus related questions.
Let us have the humility to search for truth, and accept it as we find it!
Have the courage to follow!
Once we find the truth we should have the courage to accept and follow the truth!
Someone told, Christ spent his years answering the question “who is my Neighbor?” by his own deeds. Mother Teresa could also find this great truth or the example Jesus set. She too became a Christ in miniature!
Mother Teresa said you can speak the Gospels in five words: “You did it for me.” (Mt 25:40)
Let us search for the Truth, find Him, God is not a God who just resides in the skies. He comes, He comes, He ever comes! Let us search for Him, Find Him and Follow Him! And always remember God is Emmanuel- God is with Us!
The scribe reached the moment of truth, turned from his party bosses, turned from the establishment, and said, “You are right in saying that the love of God and love of neighbor are more important than all the burnt offering and sacrifices one could make.” The scribe then heard what his heart was yearning to hear. Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of Heaven.”
There are many times that people confront me, and perhaps you, regarding this or that aspect of our faith. “So, what do you think about this, Father? Or what do you think about that?” You probably have had people challenging you about your Catholicism.
They ask, “How come you worship Mary? Why don’t you ever read the Bible?” Well, we don’t worship Mary, and we do read the Bible, but many times these people are not looking for a serious answer, just an opportunity to discredit us. If instead of getting into a debate, we give them the answer that Jesus gave, well, that becomes a game changer. So we say, “We don’t worship Mary, and we do read the Bible, but, you know what, all that matters is the law of Love.
Love God and love others. Everything else flows from that.” And then, perhaps and with the grace of God, the intellectually arrogant, legends in their own minds, will be led to appreciate the simple wisdom of Catholicism. St. Augustine said “Love God and do as you will for the soul trained in loving God will do nothing to offend the One who is Beloved.”
We are often overwhelmed by the number of laws we are told to follow. There are federal laws, and state laws and county laws. There are rules in families and in schools and in places of work. Even neighborhood associations have a host of laws and plenty of people who drive around looking for violators. Added to all these are the Church laws. In the Church the main body of law is the Code of Canon Law.
Every aspect of church administration, sacrament administration, rules for daily life is carried in 1,752 canons or laws. There are divine laws, natural laws, and civil laws. Certainly we can join the scribe and asking, “Bottom line it for us, Lord.
What is it that God really wants us to do to please him?” And Jesus says, “It’s not so difficult, “Love God; Love others.” Then Jesus will tell us “you are not far from the Kingdom of Heaven”. Amen.
Fr. A. Francis HGN