20th Sunday of Ordinary Time 2011
A Reflection based on readings from: Isaiah 56, Psalm 67, Romans 11, Matthew 15
By Rev. Bob Johnnene OFD
Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus/ Franciscans of Divine Mercy
Thus says the Lord: Have a care for justice, act with integrity, for soon my salvation will come and my integrity is manifest… all who observe the sabbath, not profaning it, and cling to my covenant – these I will bring to my holy mountain. I will make them joyful in my house of prayer. …. for my house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples. Isaiah 56:1, 6-7
These words from the first reading for the 2oth Sunday of Ordinary time are, to me, an affirmation of God’s intent to welcome all people into His company regardless of their race, marital condition or sexual orientation. In the second reading from Paul’s letter to the Romans 11 verse 13 He further strengthens that concept when he writes; “I have been sent to the pagans as their apostle, and I am proud of being sent, but the purpose of it is to make my own people (meaning the Jewish People) envious of you, and in this way save some of them. and he further states “God never takes back his gifts or revokes his choice.”
In the Gospel reading from Matthew 15 Christ is reported to have said; “I was sent to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.’…. ‘Woman, you have great faith. Let your wish be granted.”
To me the message for this week is that with deep and abiding faith and trust in God all who desire it are not only welcome in God’s house, but also are guarantied to be saved.
I have often written that it is God, and only God, that can determine who will be granted salvation.
When human beings claim to know God’s will and make judgments against another declaring that they are condemned, they are in great danger of claiming a power that belongs only to God and therefore, in my estimation, are committing the great sin of blasphemy at the least and worse yet, placing themselves above God.
Throughout the New Testament we see Christ welcoming all who came to him, even those who, according to Jewish law, a Jew should not be seen with or talk to.
The message Christ gave us is that Almighty God is a loving, compassionate and forgiving God who desires us to practice the same qualities toward all of His children regardless of their race, sex, marital situation or even their religious denomination as long as they believe in the one God, The God of Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, Jacob, David and the Father of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The message of today’s readings is also a message of how we should live our life to be pleasing to God.
We are told to; “Have a care for justice and to act with integrity”
That means that we are to be fair in business dealings, in payment of wages, in discerning others and to do all things with integrity and honesty.
If we live our life, every day, in this manner and we also set aside time each day to center ourselves and to acknowledge and talk to God, we will be welcomed in heaven with all the heavenly elect.
God desires all His children to claim their rightful place in the Kingdom of heaven.
All we have to do to attain that is to Know, Love and Serve God in all our actions each and every day.
On Monday we will celebrate the Feast honoring the Assumption of Our Blessed Mother into heaven. It is also the anniversary of my ordination as a priest and a day I feel was the most wonderful day of my life.
With all joy comes sorrow and it is through the sorrow and the pain we learn to enjoy the happy moments.
Our ministry is now at a crossroads; I do not know where it is headed but leave it, as all things should be left, in God’s hands. I personally cannot sustain it by myself both financially and physically without help and support.
Tomorrow I will be releasing a reflection on Our Blessed Mother and how her life should be an example to all of us especially woman. She was totally devoted to God and accepted the “Sword that pierced her soul” (Luke 2:33–35) and so it is that I will accept whatever God has in store for Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus and the Franciscans of Divine Mercy.