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Friday, September 11, 2020

Reflection 2020-09-12 Saturday 23rd Week in Ordinary Time – Holy Name of Mary

1 Corinthians 10:14-22; Psalm 116; Luke 43-49
Child Mary with St Joachim and St Anne

The First Reading opens with a warning from St Paul: flee from the worship of idols. While during Paul’s time, people worshiped idols believing these are gods that can help them, we do not do this today. Instead, we have a subtle form of idol worship. When I dedicate my life and passion to pursue something, the thing I pursue becomes my god. People today chase after their dreams of power, riches, fame or whatever they choose. We see this when people say anything, especially so they can get what they want, even claiming to be a Catholic, while opposing the teaching of the Church.
Jesus warns us against professing ourselves as his followers and not doing what he says. Jesus asks Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’, and do not do what I tell you? There is then an outward sign of respect by calling Jesus “Lord” but this outward sign of respect is not proven by doing what Jesus says. This happens because people see their faith as a set of actions or rules to follow. They think they are followers of Christ just by saying so even if they do the actions without considering their internal disposition to Jesus. Our faith goes beyond blind performance of actions. The Pharisees were strict followers of the Law, thinking they keep themselves pure by obeying the Law. But what good is obedience to the Law if we turn around and do what is against the spirit of the Law?
This is another form of idolatry. I make myself god when I proclaim my faith in Jesus and do what is contrary to what he says. I worship myself because I decide what is good and evil. The truth is, God determines what is good and evil. God determines good and evil and not popular opinion or legislation. If I cannot accept what the Church teaches and I do not do what the Church teaches, I reject Jesus and cut myself off from him, even if I strongly say I am a Catholic.
If I reject Jesus, then receiving communion means nothing. St Paul said in the First Reading, the cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? The First Reading ends by saying you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Or are we provoking the Lord to jealousy?
When I profess to be a Catholic and continue to oppose the teaching of the Church, and come to communion, I partake of the table of demons because I worship myself. By coming up for communion even if I am in the state of mortal sin, I am saying that I can do what I want and Jesus needs to do what I want and give me what I want. If that is my attitude, then I proclaim myself as lord. By doing so, I provoke God and Scripture says, God will not be mocked. We will have to answer for our deeds when face Jesus when we die.
Yet, if I live in mortal sin, there is hope to be reconciled with God. I need to stop worshiping myself and worship God instead. I need to reject sin and turn back to God, to obey him and do what he says. This is the only way to be in communion with God: Obedience to him. In the end, what I say about myself does not matter. It is what God says about me that matters. Mary, our Blessed Mother knows this, which is why she surrenders herself to God fully and completely, to allow God to do great things for her.
Lord, let me call you Lord, Lord and prove this by doing what you say. Let me not worship myself by doing what I want. And if there are things I do not understand, reveal them to me. Let me realize that you determine what is good and evil, you are the One whom I should obey and worship and serve. Cleanse me Lord, and show me whatever hinders me from worshiping you. Mary, my Mother, lead me to Jesus. Teach me to obey him, so I can allow God to do great things for me.

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