Wednesday, February 15, 2017

February 19, 2017 - God is all-inclusive, all-embracing

The Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time  A

Reading 1:  Leviticus 19:1-2,17-18
Response:  Psalm 103
Reading II:  1 Corinthians 3:16-23
Gospel:   1 Corinthians 3:16-23

When most of us hear the word “Catholic,” we think of a particular group of Christians. However, the word’s basic definition is “universal, all-encompassing, and all-embracing.” Christianity is a religion of all-inclusive love

Even in Jesus’ time, the question came up “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus' response was to tell the story of the “Good Samaritan” who came to the aid of a man who had been robbed and injured. Even though some Rabbinic authorities considered Samaritans as a branch of Judaism, others considered them as outsiders. Ironically, the priest and levite passed him by while
this “stranger” when out of his way to help.

According to Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar, in his book Light of the Word, “In the ‘Old Testament,’ love was primarily something for one’s own clan which constituted “one’s neighbor in that era.”(p.50) On the other hand, Jesus taught that everyone is to beloved as a neighbor — even our enemies. He gives us many examples during his lifetime and especially as he asks His Father to forgive those who are putting him to death.

Today, the expression “good samaritan” is commonly used for people who extend a helping hand to those in need, even if they do not know them. I am always happy when the newscasters, after telling us of all the violence and crime of the day, will share some of the wonderful deeds of the many kind and generous people in our world.

Because of the ripple effect, I have always felt that the world would be better place if more stories of the good people do would be told. Just this week, I heard about someone who paid-off of unpaid school lunch bills for children in need. It triggered a flood of similar outreaches from others across the country.

When we find it difficult to love someone, let us ask the Lord to remind us that we are all children of the same Father and pray for whatever the person needs.

Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...

Dios es todo-inclusivo, todo-que abarca 

Cuando la mayoría de nosotros escuchamos la palabra “Católico”, pensamos en un grupo particular de cristianos. Sin embargo, la definición básica de la palabra es “universal, todo-que abarca, y todo-abrazando.” El cristianismo es una religión del amor inclusivo

Incluso en el tiempo de Jesús, surgió la pregunta “¿Quién es mi prójimo?” La respuesta de Jesús fue contar la historia del “Buen Samaritano” que acudió en ayuda de un hombre que había sido robado y herido. Aunque algunas autoridades rabínicas consideraban a los samaritanos como una rama del judaísmo, otros los consideraban como forasteros. Irónicamente, el sacerdote y el levita pasaron Este “extraño” cuando fuera de su manera de ayudar.

Según el p. Hans Urs von Balthasar, en su libro Luz del Verbo, “En el’ Antiguo Testamento”, el amor era principalmente algo para el propio clan que constituía “el prójimo en esa época.” (P.50) Por otra parte, Jesús enseñó que todo el mundo es amado como un Vecino - incluso nuestros enemigos. Él nos da muchos ejemplos durante su vida y especialmente cuando le pide a su Padre que perdone a los que lo están matando.

Hoy en día, la expresión “buen samaritano” se utiliza comúnmente para las personas que extienden una mano a los necesitados, incluso si no los conocen. Siempre estoy contento cuando los periodistas, después de contarnos toda la violencia y delito del día, compartirán algunos de los maravillosos hechos de las muchas personas generosas y generosas de nuestro mundo.

Debido al efecto de la ondulación, siempre he sentido que el mundo sería mejor lugar si se contara más historias de la gente buena. Sólo esta semana, escuché acerca de alguien que pagó-fuera de las facturas de almuerzo escolar sin pagar para niños necesitados. Esto desencadenó una avalancha de actividades similares de otros en todo el país.

Cuando nos resulte difícil amar a alguien, pidamos al Señor que nos recuerde que todos somos hijos del mismo Padre y oramos por lo que la persona necesite.


  1. Sr. Annette, I am so inspired by the picture you used to introduce this week’s blog. We all need to be reminded that God’s love is all-inclusive. I agree that there is so much goodness in our world evidenced by acts of kindness that when we hear them we are warmed and reminded of God’s presence in our broken world.
    I focused on a different aspect of the gospel which I hope compliments your wonderful post…
    In last week’s gospel Jesus taught us the importance of forgiveness, reconciliation, and right living. This week He instructs us to love our enemies further indicating God’s desire for us to develop a character of love and forgiveness. Jesus’ “turn the other cheek” lesson is contrary to how we are culturally trained to react to someone who has wronged us. I can remember my mother’s response to my crying that one of my playmates hit me. She told me to go out there and hit him back – hard! I did as I was told and made him cry. At five years old I became aware that such actions do not produce positive results because I lost a friend over that incident. The loss of that relationship resulted in deeper pain than his physical punch. There are no winners in the game of “getting even.”
    “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”… Jesus modeled this so beautifully on the cross as he prayed for his persecutors, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” The ability to respond with such love requires that we have a deep relationship with God. We cannot love others the way God loves us without His grace. Unconditional love is total movement of Spirit.
    Valentine Day was celebrated (or dreaded) by many this week. That day lends itself to a very consumer oriented twist on love based heavily on emotion. Hallmark loves this romantic notion because it makes a lot of money from cards and novelties. But shallow sentiments do not profit our souls. In fact, these surface level feelings of emotion often lead to an experience of woundedness: jealousy, anger and other “eye for an eye” attitudes and misguided thinking. We walk around with wounded hearts. Rarely do we recognize that authentic love is a choice.
    Henri Nouwen counsels, “Forgiveness often seems impossible, but nothing is impossible for God. The God who lives within us will give us the grace to go beyond our wounded selves.” God will help us see life through a different perspective.
    I’d like to close with a little prayer from the book, Give Us This Day: “May the Lord bless us with every gift we need to love tenderly, act justly, and walk humbly with God.”

  2. Excellent advice! Jesus has definitely assured us that: "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (Jn. 13:35)

    The following excerpts are from an address given by Pope Francis:

    "What an enormous responsibility the Lord gives us! He tells us that the world will recognize the disciples of Jesus by the way they love one another. Love, in other words, is the Christian's identity card, the only valid "document" identifying us as Christians. If this card expires, and is not constantly renewed, we stop being witnesses of the Master. So I ask you: Do you wish to say "yes" to Jesus' invitation to be his disciples? Do you wish to be his faithful friends? The true friends of Jesus stand out essentially by the genuine love that shines forth in their way of life."

    "Before all else, love is beautiful, it is the path to happiness. But it is not an easy path. It is demanding and it requires effort. Think, for example, of when we receive a gift. It makes us happy, but receiving a gift means that someone generous has invested time and effort; by their gift they also give us a bit of themselves, a sacrifice they have made."

    "Look to the Lord, who is never outdone in generosity. We receive so many gifts from him, and every day we should thank him. Let me ask you something. Do you thank the Lord every day? Even if we forget to do so, he never forgets, each day, to give us some special gift. It is not something material and tangible that we can use, but something even greater, a lifelong gift. He offers us his special friendship, which he will never take back."

    "The Lord, if you let him teach you, will show you how to make tenderness and affection even more beautiful. He will guide your hearts to "love without being possessive", to love others without trying to own them but letting them be free.... The Lord, if you will listen to his voice, will reveal to you the secret of love. It is caring for others, respecting them and protecting them."

    "Your happiness has no price. It cannot be bought: it is not an app that you can download on your phones nor will the latest update bring you freedom and grandeur in love. That is because love is a free gift which calls for an open heart; it is a noble responsibility which is lifelong; it is a daily task for those who can achieve great dreams! Love is nurtured by trust, respect and forgiveness. Love does not happen because we talk about it, but when we live it: it is not a sweet poem to study and memorize,; but is a life choice to put into practice... And when loving seems hard, when it is difficult to say no to something wrong, look up at Jesus on the cross. Embrace the cross and don't ever let go of his hand. He will point you ever higher and pick you up whenever you fall."

    "I know that you are capable of acts of great friendship and goodness. With these you are called to build the future, together with others and for others, but never against anyone! Let your daily program be the works of mercy. Enthusiastically practice them, so as to be champions in life! In this way you will be recognized as disciples of Jesus - and your joy will be complete!"

    Pope Francis
    April 24, 2016