July 15, 2013

The Gospel Today

Memorial of Saint Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church 

Mt. 10:34-11:1

Jesus said to his Apostles:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth.
I have come to bring not peace but the sword.
For I have come to set
a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one’s enemies will be those of his household.

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,
and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
and whoever does not take up his cross
and follow after me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it,
and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

“Whoever receives you receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet
will receive a prophet’s reward,
and whoever receives a righteous man
because he is righteous
will receive a righteous man’s reward.
And whoever gives only a cup of cold water
to one of these little ones to drink
because he is a disciple–
amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”

When Jesus finished giving these commands to his Twelve disciples,
he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.

Reflection (Sem. Jul Elden Nuique): 

          Ignatius Loyola says that we are created to praise, reverence, and serve God and by this means to save our soul.  All other things are ways to achieve this end.  Therefore, we must rid ourselves of the things that hinder us from reaching our purpose.  This seems to be what our Lord is saying when he says that, he has “come to spread, not peace, but division.”

          God must always be the center of our lives.  He is the one who continuously gives us life, attracts us – the root of our happiness.  During times of distress – perhaps when we lose a valued possession, a hard-earned position at work, or a cherished person – we have no sense of direction and our drive is gone.  This is very telling of the fulcrum around which our lives revolve.  For the objective observer, a person distressed during these times clearly does not have God as his center, his pearl of great price.  The Creator has been eclipsed in importance by his creations.

       When we have God as the focus of our lives, we will go against the flow of society.  We will not share the values beloved by most, such as the accumulation of wealth, fame, or praise.  What drives us to rise from sleep and excel during the day will be the love of God.  No sacrifice will be too difficult when we know that God adoringly nurtures us.

          In order to have God as the heart of our lives, we need constant examination of our motives.  If our love for God and neighbor is capricious, then perhaps we bring this reflection to prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to give us the perspective of the Triune God who limitlessly loves us.

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