Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

How do we distinguish the Law of God from mere human precepts? How do we know when we are being good Christians or not? It really is not that difficult.  We only have to look into our hearts.  Am I putting God first?  Am I serving Him in others?  Am I reverencing Him in every aspect of my life?  That's all that matters.  From this all the rest flows.  Jesus said that the sum total of all the law was loving God with our whole hearts, our whole souls and our whole minds and loving our neighbor as ourselves.  That's simple enough[1].

Simple is what we need in our daily practice of the faith. But where do we find this simplicity?  There are two sentences in the Bible that answer this question for me, perhaps also for you.  The first comes from today's second reading, the Letter of James. James writes, Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. The word that James uses for religion is the Greek word threskia. Threskia means "worshiping". What James is saying is that worshiping God means reaching out to those who need our help, caring for orphans and widows, and living for his Kingdom, keeping ourselves unstained by the world.  James is really not limiting his thought to the young lady and children up the block whose husband and father died suddenly. He is speaking about all who need our love and support. We are worshiping God when we reach out to His Presence in those in need. Whatever you do for the least of my brethren you do for me.

The second sentence that simplifies how we are to live our faith comes from the Old Testament prophet Micah.  Micah proclaims: What does the LORD require of you? He has told you, ‘Do what is just, love what is kind, and walk humbly with your God.

I am convinced that if we were to have a few words with one of the apostles in heaven and we were to ask him, “What was Jesus really like when you followed Him on earth?” the apostle would respond, “He was the kindest man to ever live. And then He called us to follow Him, to be like Him, to be kind.”

“And walk humbly with your God.” We need to be aware that God has showered His Love on each of us not because we did this or that but because He sees in each of us a unique reflection of His own goodness, His Image and Likeness.  We walk humbly with our God because we are well aware that He has been so good to each of us. 

Religion is not difficult.  All that is required of us is for us to take a close look at our interior attitudes and, then, let our external actions be a reflection of whom we are, followers of Jesus Christ •

[1] 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time (B), August 30, 2015. Readings: Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8; Responsorial Psalm 15:2-3, 3-4, 4-5; James 1:17-18, 21b-22, 27; Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris