Obedience

She Said Yes – Second Reading in Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

She Said Yes – Second Reading in Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

Mary said yes. And for that yes, does she not deserve our honor and veneration? And by that yes did she not become the example of the yes each of us should also give to God? Surely we too are the servant of the Lord and it should be to us according to his word, just as it was with her. Certainly not as much is riding on our response, but something is: one soul to save, one who is wretched to comfort, one captive to ransom, one condemned to free. Christ wants to be born in each of us and work through each of us. And, because every soul is of ultimate worth, “all heaven and earth is holding its breath” for our reply.

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When Yes Means Yes – Gospel for the Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

When Yes Means Yes – Gospel for the Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The challenge of this passage for us today, N. T. Wright tells us, is “to make sure we are responding to Jesus, allowing him to confront us at any point where we have been like the second son and said ‘Yes’ to God while in fact going off in the other direction.” (Matthew For Everyone, V2, p.77) We should not be afraid to do this for Jesus does not want to confront us in order to judge us, but rather to save us. The implication of this passage is not a final condemnation of Israel’s leaders, but a final appeal for their repentance: “If he waited for the harlots and tax collectors to repent and believe, and they had responded, might the priests not follow suit? The arms of divine mercy are still open.”( Michael Green, Matthew, p227)

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A Beauty that Prevails – Gospel Reading for the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

A Beauty that Prevails – Gospel Reading for the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

To make a more practical analogy, if you have a coworker that breaths fire—they are abrasive, impatient or overbearing—the right response is not to replicate that behavior, but balance it with kindness, love, and patience… this kind of active resistance, even in the form of our deference, is the means by which we resist the threat of the weeds, so that the goodness in ourselves and in our neighbors is able to grow. This patience, this perceived non-action, is often the holiest action we can take. It is the outward expression of our belief in God’s infinite goodness and justice, that even as darkness thickens and contracts upon us, there is an enduring light manifest in the grace of God and our faith that “though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.”

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Waiting in Expectant Hope – First Reading of the Seventh Week of Easter

Waiting in Expectant Hope – First Reading of the Seventh Week of Easter

During that time they waited expectantly. No, the passage does no’t say so in so many words, but imagine: these people have just experienced the resurrection and ascension, now they are promised the Spirit. On the basis of what they have already experienced, can there be any doubt that, even if they have no idea of exactly what to expect, they are excited, confident that the promise will be fulfilled and that it will be wonderful. All too often waiting in our lives is filled with anxiety, fear, even dread. It should not be so when we are waiting for God (and we should always be waiting for God) for he fulfills every promise and always in ways better than we can imagine. Don’’t be afraid. The situation in your life may seem dire, but it is God you are waiting for and he will not leave you nor forsake you.

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A Driving Passion – John 7

A Driving Passion – John 7

I know how often I have failed to make sure the lesson was his and not mine and how often it was my glory, and not his, which I have sought. I know how often my delight has not been to do his will. Perhaps I can excuse this by saying that, after all, he is Jesus and I certainly am not; but I don’’t think so. Jesus is the man I was meant to be, but by God’s grace, can be. I was meant to be that man who says, ““I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart”.” And so were you.

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Faith in Action – John 5

Faith in Action – John 5

At the root of the sin that conditions all of our lives is a rebellion against God’s will for our lives and the world driven by a lack of trust in his goodness (CCC 397, 398), and it is by this sin that death entered into the world. It is only by turning once again towards God, and choosing instead to take him at His word—both about our sinful condition and his infinite and unfathomable goodness—that we are able to receive anew the life He created us to have.

‘If original sin is our denial of God’s gift, ‘faith’ in its deepest essence, is the openness of the human heart to the gift: to God’s self-communication in the Holy Spirit (Dominum et Vivificantum 51)

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To Be Born Anew – John 3

To Be Born Anew – John 3

Jesus would not be an add-on to Nicodemus’ already successful life. He would be Lord or nothing at all. Was he willing to be born anew? Would he submit and surrender everything he had ever known—his talents, his money, his gifts, even his understanding of faithfulness to the Law and every opportunity and power that had been afforded him—in order to brought into the New Life offered by Christ?

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The Spirit of Sacrifice – Luke 21

The Spirit of Sacrifice – Luke 21

…sincere gratitude is expressed only with great difficulty. “Giving does not begin to be real giving until it hurts”. In Luke 21 we encounter the story of the poor woman who Jesus witnesses giving her last two groats in the temple. She gave these two pennies after two men had given a great bounty. Jesus observed to the men that although the woman had given less money, she had given more, because she had given of herself, she had given all that she had.

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Inexorably Aimed Toward Jerusalem – Luke 18

Inexorably Aimed Toward Jerusalem – Luke 18

If, then, following Jesus is the more demanding command, why order the rich man sell and give? Because this was the concrete incarnate way this particular man was to follow Jesus; it was his particular cross. Paul says of the meaning of the Cross: “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich”(II Cor. 8:9) Isn’t that what he asked of this man? Isn’t that what he asks of us, each in our own way?

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To Love or Hate? – Luke 14

To Love or Hate? – Luke 14

Even our best and purest loves are disordered. Despite our best intentions, we love in ways that are often less than healthy, if not altogether unhealthy—both for others or ourselves. Even our best efforts to love are in need of redemption. It is only by loving God above all things and all people that our sinful natures can become redeemed and sanctified so that we can be not only opened to His love, but also become more perfect instruments of that love to the people around us through our obedience to him.

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