Deuteronomy 30:10-14; Ps 69:14, 17, 30-31, 33-34, 36-37; Colossians 1:15-20; Luke 10:25-37
Please pray daily a Chaplet of Divine Mercy for the conversion of our country to the Jewish-Christian principles on which it was founded and for the conversion of all the terrorists. It only takes 5 minutes. Thank you in Jesus holy Name.
The scripture readings this Sunday speak of closeness to God and serving our neighbor. The first reading directed the Jewish people to return to God’s laws with their whole being. If we also do that we shall be abundantly blessed. Much destruction is happening in much of the world because so many people have turned so far away from God. Nature is even reacting to this rift with God.
St. Paul tells us that Jesus Christ is the image and presence of our invisible God. All things were created by him and for him. Jesus is before all else. All humanity is invited back to God through Christ’s death on the cross. Jesus is not dead but alive and glorified, the first born from the dead. He wants us to come follow him.
So I have been encouraging you, especially the men, to have a sacred space in your residence for daily prayer and New Testament reading, away from the TV. That and the computer can be great distractions. Jesus wants a personal relationship with each of us. He wants to teach us and fill us up with more of his love and power. Praise God! It is not difficult to set aside distractions to spend some time with Jesus. Listening to Christian music while driving to and from work is also helpful or listening to Catholic educational CDs, like “Lighthouse Catholic Media.” If it isn’t in your church bookrack, I lovingly urge you to urge your pastor to put some there. Every effort to evangelize and teach others helps them meet and fall in love with Jesus. So our “down time” can be filled with God’s word and glory.
In the gospel of Luke 10:25 ff, Jesus affirms a scholar of the law, who was trying to test him, for loving God with his whole heart etc., and loving his neighbor as himself. The scholar then asked Jesus who is his the neighbor. Jesus tells everyone, and us, a story about a man who was beaten by robbers and left half-dead. A few passed and left him along the road. One man stopped and ministered to man. He then took him to an inn, giving the attendant money to take care of the poor man. If he spent more money, the generous man would repay him on his way back.
Neighbors can be many different people in our lives. The world is full of needy people. We can’t take care of all of them nor leave our national borders open to all the poor. See the ethnic difficulty we have with the Afro-Americans in all of our large cities. They mostly want more government handouts. Many don’t have the skills to hold down a good job and are caught in alcoholism and drugs. Much of their plight is due to broken families. Our prisons are filled with men who have no fathers and women who have been greatly abused. There is a great identity crisis of not knowing they are children of God with gifts.
We can’t solve all of their problems. I think as a nation we have a greater responsibility to help our own first. People need to know they are children of God, our creator and that God loves us all. Each person needs to know they are loved and special. The Cursillo movement helps people come to personally know Jesus. We can pray for their healing. Only God can go back into our dysfunctional past and heal us. We need to be in a good Catholic parish where people care for one another.
Personally, our neighbors are those closest to us, our spouse, children, close family, people in our parishes and those we work with. With more of the daily graces God give us, let us help those in need around us. May Jesus give us all more grace to do that.
Love and blessings in his Name,
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2016 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)