Reading 1 / Deuteronomy 30:10-14
Moses said to the people: “If only you would heed the voice of the LORD, your God, and keep his commandments and statutes that are written in this book of the law, when you return to the LORD, your God, with all your heart and all your soul.
“For this command that I enjoin on you today is not too mysterious and remote for you. It is not up in the sky, that you should say, ‘Who will go up in the sky to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’Nor is it across the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’ No, it is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out.”
- With the new Star Wars movies coming out, we men are reminded about the Force. For Christian men, we can identify with this even deeper as a metaphor for the Holy Spirit. We remember the 1st time that Luke Skywalker actually “lets go” of his worldly inhibitions and lets the Force flow through him. Just like Luke Skywalker, we must let go of our worldly inhibitions and let the Holy Spirit’s “force” flow through us. We are born Saints with the Spiritual DNA of God already in our mouths, hearts, head, etc. While the Devil (the Emperor) and his converts (Darth Vader) are always warring against our Souls, free falling into our Faith is the only way to win – this is agape love. What demons are keeping us from just letting go of the world? What’s stopping us from dying to the world, so that we can live in Heaven through Him?
Responsorial Psalm / Psalms 69:14, 17, 30-31, 33-34, 36, 37
R. (cf. 33) Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.
I pray to you, O LORD, for the time of your favor, O God! In your great kindness answer me with your constant help. Answer me, O LORD, for bounteous is your kindness: in your great mercy turn toward me. R.
I am afflicted and in pain; let your saving help, O God, protect me. I will praise the name of God in song, and I will glorify him with thanksgiving. R.
“See, you lowly ones, and be glad; you who seek God, may your hearts revive! For the LORD hears the poor, and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.” R.
For God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah. The descendants of his servants shall inherit it, and those who love his name shall inhabit it. R.
- Continuing on our Star Wars metaphor, if we stick together and listen, trust, and obey the Lord through the generations, we shall defeat the evil empire, destroy the death star, and bring peace to the universe via Heaven. We are to seek God first in all things. As in the movie, “Facing the Giants“, if we just trust in Him and honor Him, win or lose, we will triumph with the Lord in the end. How could we turn more on a daily basis to the Lord? How about on a moment-to-moment, throughout the day basis?
Reading 2 / Colossians 1:15-20
Christ Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he himself might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.
- I love when the Bible references things like thrones, dominions, principalities, powers, angels, seraphim, cherubim, etc. I used to just let these words pass me by as some other thing at Mass that I didn’t need to know deeper. Then, one day, I stumbled upon the Nine Orders of Angelic Beings. You’ve got to check these out! I knew that God was made manifest in Jesus and created awesome stuff, but I didn’t know much about Heaven and its inhabitants beyond past loved ones and Saints. There are 9 orders of angelic beings (1 being the highest order) as follows:
- The First Sphere — angels who serve as heavenly counselors
- 1 – SERAPHIM
- 2 – CHERUBIM
- 3 – THRONES
- The Second Sphere — angels who work as heavenly governors
- 4 – DOMINIONS
- 5 – VIRTUES
- 6 – POWERS
- The Third Sphere — angels who function as heavenly messengers
- 7 – PRINCIPALITIES
- 8 – ARCHANGELS
- 9 – ANGELS
- What stops us from using our childlike imagination(s) to dream of Heaven beyond just clouds and music? How does the Book of Revelation reveal to us more wonders about other inhabitants of Heaven like the 24 Elders and 4 Beasts?
Alleluia / John 6:63C, 68C
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life; you have the words of everlasting life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
- If we live and speak the Word of God, we will have everlasting life. We used to tell our Sunday School (Catechism, CCD, etc.) class that if you could go somewhere every week and pick-up $10,000 in cash, would you do it? In Church every Sunday, we have the opportunity to worship God and receive His Body and Blood. While we may stumble as Saints trying to find their way Home, we can have Spiritual Nourishment each week through His Word and His Eucharist. If you don’t like the homily or sermon, oh well. You’re not there for the preacher and you’re not there for the others. You’re there for Him and He rewards you infinitely. How can we focus more on His Word and Body/Blood each week at Mass? Even with the distractions at Church, how can go deeper with Him during Mass?
Gospel / Luke 10:25-37
There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”
But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn, and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’ Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
- Our neighbors. I haven’t been a great neighbor and I have failed my neighborhood many different times. Don’t get me wrong, I’m an OK neighbor and you’d probably like to live near me. I take pride in my yard, home, cars, etc. But, at times, I don’t take pride in my neighbors. So, while I may get your mail for you or keep an eye on your house, I’m not always the neighbor that God calls me to be. I like to close my doors early each night and plop down on my couch for an evening of TV bliss. This view of “neighbor” is way too small however. Our neighbors reply to everyone else – not just those that live near or by us. This is everyone. This is where I fall short. As in the movie, “Old Fashioned“, Aunt Zella tells troubled Clay, “We all fall short this side of Heaven.” But, just as Aunt Zella goes on to tell Clay, to get up and “chase that girl”, my failures don’t stop me from trying again and again and again. That’s the point. What do we do when we fall short? Do you know that there’s still Grace in falling if we get back up? How have each of the Saints fallen and gotten back up?
Reflection of the Week: Watch The Jesus Painting