WSC Reflection for August 22, 2021

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Cycle B, Year I)

Community Word: Believing in Jesus, the Bread of Life, nourishes us for eternal life.
Theme: We are nourished for eternal life when we honor God’s commandment.
Promise: “Whoever walks blamelessly and does justice; who thinks the truth in his heart…..shall never be disturbed” (Ps 15: 2, 5b)

Reflection
God’s will is above human traditions and precepts, and His law takes precedence over our traditions, practices and rites. The latter are not substitutes for following the ways of God and for obeying what God wants from us. God cannot be reduced to mere performance of rituals, or observance of rules and regulations. God is honored by living His commandments. He is praised by our good works, and glorified by doing what He desires of us.
In the gospel of Mark, the Pharisees and scribes are taught by Jesus a very important lesson on purity of heart. They have misconstrued cleanliness as something external, a matter of rituals and ceremonies based on the tradition of the elders. To which Jesus answers with a declarative teaching, “Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile,” (Mk 7:15).
Jesus emphasizes that what is important is that there is no malice, but purity, in the heart and mind of a person, in his desires and in his intentions. Because, it is sin in our heart that makes us unclean. And it is only conversion of the heart to righteousness that can bring about true cleanness and thus, make us right with God.
Following the Lord is not easy in today’s world, but the Church, liturgy, music, teachings, prayers… these should enable us to express and maintain our faith in Christ. Through them, as St. Paul says in today’s second reading, we can welcome the Word, Jesus Christ, in our homes and into our lives. The condition of our heart speaks the truth of what we do.
Our theme for the week tells us that we are nourished for eternal life when we honor God’s commandments. These commandments are God’s perfect gift handed down to us through Moses as we see in the 1st Reading. They are not meant to burden us but to draw us closer to God. God challenges us to hear, listen and honor them by obeying them in love, putting His words to heart that we may become not only hearers, but doers of His word. In his letter, St. John says, “In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,” (1 Jn 5:3)
Our interpretation of God’s commands are sometimes marred by our own understanding or circumstances like what the scribes and Pharisees did. That is why these truths should be observed carefully, seeking God’s wisdom through Jesus, the Bread of Life, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Through Jesus’ preaching and ministry, in His death and resurrection, He taught us the two greatest commandments, that of loving God above all else and loving our neighbors as ourselves. In this time of the pandemic, we have to live out this truth by loving the way He loves.
If we obey God’s commandments, if we love as Jesus loves, then our actions should manifest our sincerest intention of following God’s will. Then we will be able claim the Lord’s promise for this week: “Whoever walks blamelessly and does justice; who thinks the truth in his heart … shall never be disturbed.” (Ps 15:2)

Prayer
Lord God, fill us with Your Holy Spirit. Make our heart like Yours, pure and always burning with love. Strengthen our will that we may always choose to love what is good and to reject what is evil. We seek Your pardon for not listening to Your word or interpreting it to our own liking or imposing our self-centered understanding on others. May You grant us the wisdom, strength and patience to hear and act upon Your word in total obedience to You, Your Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Reflection Guide Questions

  1. What commandment do I find most difficult to follow? Why?
  2. What are the intentions behind everything I do and I say?
  3. What is the true condition of my heart towards the last, the least and the lost?

This Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:
August 29, 2021 (Sun) – Dt 4:1-2, 6-8/ Ps 15:2-5/ Jas1:17-18, 21-22, 27/ Mk 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
August 30, 2021 (Mon) – 1 Thes 4:13-18/ Ps 96:1, 3, 4-5, 11-12, 13/ Lk 4:16-30
August 31, 2021 (Tue) – 1 Thes 5:1-6, 9-11/ Ps 27:1, 4, 13-14/ Lk 4:31-37
September 1, 021 (Wed) – Col 1:1-8/ Ps 52:10, 11/ Lk 4:38-44
September 2, 2021 (Thurs) – Col 1:9-14/ Ps 98:2-3, 3-4, 5-6/ Lk 5:1-11
September 3, 2021 (Fri) – Col 1:15-20/ Ps 100:1-2, 3, 4, 5/ Lk 5:33-39
September 4, 2021 (Sat) – Col 1:21-23/ Ps 54:3-4, 6, 8/ Lk 6:1-5

“Ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of Christ. Read your Bible daily!”

 
 

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