Monday of 31st week, A
(Romans 11:29-36/Psalm 69:30-31, 33-34, 36/Luke 14:12-14)
This week I have to live my life formed by my encounter with Christ I had yesterday at Mass. The Call is strong: I have to practice what I preach; I cannot say one thing and do another. I am called to honesty as I face the Hidden Deception.
I take my first step today. St Paul helps me. When I look at things from my point of view I realize that when I do something, even something for God, I do it doing my best but then eventually it gets twisted around by my sin. My weakness comes to the fore and I ask God to help me. I know that He takes whatever I have done and turns into a blessing. Knowing this makes my very thankful to Him. So, from my point of view: sin comes first and then God’s mercy.
But, thinking about it, I realize that it is not so. In the Garden of Eden, Adam’s sin wasn’t the first event. The fruit was already there, given to him freely by God. Therefore, God’s Grace comes first and than our actions and sin, which leads us to God’s Mercy.
The Word has already reminded me about this a couple of days ago. “Everything works together…” that is, everything leads me to Him, not against Him. Events and circumstances are an expression of God’s loving will for me, almost like a “sacrament of mercy.” All is Grace. The challenge is that I don’t always remember this and I don’t always act on this concept.
Looking at my sin first may actually work against me. I read in my missal today that “God does not love me because I am good but that I may become good.” I like this! It opens me up to God’s presence and makes me remain in the freedom that comes from being loved by God.
I got a different point of view: focusing on Grace and Love first generates in me a change in my relationship with God. I want to live this way and if I make this choice today I know I can build and live in a community that reflects God, that imitates Him.
The Gospel brings me deeper into this reality. I cannot see my neighbor as someone from whom I can profit (not only economically but most especially psychologically). Once I see the person who is in front of me as a gift of God to me, I relate to him or her freely without calculations. I know this deep in my heart: I don’t like to feel “used” by people so I cannot use them either. Everybody is a gift of God to me: I know, sometimes I want to “return one of the gifts back to the store and settle for a gift card” 🙂 but I have to resist the temptation to dismiss my neighbor as unimportant or as an intrusion. Welcoming everybody as a gift will allow me to live as though it’s always Christmas!
What to do then? Doing the Will of God in every present moment allows me to remain focused on God’s wisdom which illumines me to see God-in-the-other. By welcoming and loving the other freely and without calculations I can realize that I can build the Civilization of Love. By loving my neighbor freely, I can find Him living with me.