Scripture Readings: Ezekiel 18:25-28; Philippians 2:1-11; Matthew 21:28-32
My guess we know people who have said yes to us or someone else, and never acted upon the yes. We might even have to say that about ourselves from time to time.
And maybe one of the reasons we come to Mass weekly is our awareness of our faults and failing, but we also know that with Jesus, our lives can change for the better. All we have to do is turn to Jesus, to ask, and to live what we ask for – what Jesus asks of us.
Pope Francis this past week in a weekday homily noted that in the time of Jesus, and even today, many followers of Jesus followed him for the “sake of convenience” only, or perhaps with the desire to be “a little better” only.
Pope Francis reminds us there are two conditions to following Jesus:
1. To listen to the Word of God – and – 2. To put it into practice
“This is the Christian life! Simple, simple, simple.” You can see the Pope with his little smile say these words, “To listen to the Word of God. Put it into practice. This is the Christian life! Simple, simple, simple.”
The Pope continued, “We need to really listen to the Word of God!” [Maybe this is the reason some of us think that Mass is so boring; we are unaware of why we are here.]
We need to ask:
- What are the Scripture Readings saying to me?
- How do the Scripture Readings speak to my heart?
- What is God saying to me?
As we listen, as we continue to listen to the Word of God at Mass that comes to us in song, in prayer, in scriptures, in the Eucharist, and through the Spirit; What are you hearing God share with YOU ???
The Gospels were not just written for people of a long time ago, the Gospels were written for EACH of US!
The Pope also shared that “putting the Gospel into practice is not always easy. It is easier,” said the Pope, “to live a mellow life without worrying about the demands of the Word of God.”
The Commandments and the Beatitudes are sure guidelines for anyone who would really attempt to understand the requirements that the Gospel places on us and act accordingly, always counting on Jesus for help.
“Jesus,” reminds the Pope, “waits for you and me and us to live the faith, and to live our words of yes to love God and love our neighbor.” (Reminds one of our Baptismal Commitment)
The Lord is always sowing his Word and asks us only to have an open heart, to listen, and to be willing to put what we hear from God into practice. Maybe this is why we complain sometimes when we hear the same message, because it is a message we do not want to respond to, or a message that challenges us to do something we do not want to do, like change.
One of the thoughts most homilists have when preparing a homily are two questions:
1. In one sentence, what’s the point of today’s homily?
God has something to say to each of us, each weekend, at Mass. We need to be open to hearing God’s Word for us and to live that Word.
2. In one sentence, what do I want the people to remember?
May we say YES to the command to love God and his people and may we live that yes to love of God and his people everyday.
And so we pray this weekend: Lead me Lord in the path of your commandments, that is your Word, that I may learn with Your guidance to put it into practice. (Amen!)