Click here for the readings of Sunday, September 8, 2019 and below for the bulletin.
The first reading reminds me of the prayer that God taught us where it says, "...Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven..." In other words, I'm reminded that we pray for heaven to be here on earth as it is in heaven. Similar to the post a couple weeks back, I said that we can try with our own strength, our own abilities to get into heaven, but at the end of the day, that's not what God's looking for. God's looking for whether we allowed Him to transform our very selves INto Him...INto God. This first reading pretty much repeats the same - that our abilities are limited; whereas, His abilities are limitless, divine, HEAVENLY. It is by His Spirit that we can be transformed...IF we allow Him.
The psalm is, "In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge." What I've learned about life so far is that there are a lot of uncertainties. But the ONLY thing that I know that's constant, is God's Divine Love. It's the only thing I know of that is ever-present, always around us. Then, why is it that sometimes He feels far away from us? Well, that's because we're the one moving away. But since God's love isn't forceful, He waits for us to give Him a chance to love us and transform those broken, wounded places in our hearts INto His own broken, yet Divine and Resurrected Heart...His Sacred Heart. He is always there for us, again, IF we allow Him to be "our refuge."
Speaking of God's love not being forceful, Paul talks about this during His imprisonment saying that the decision must come from within. This is something I encountered in my faith journey: that while we can talk about, show, encourage people to beLoved by God, it ultimately has to be them to decide to allow God to Love them. Paul, when talking about sending his son, referred to him as, "my own heart." This reminds me of when Jesus said He would send His Spirit - God sending God - 1 person of the Holy Trinity, sending another person of the Holy Trinity. "God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God." When we allow ourselves to be transformed INto God, we start to see the presence of God in others. Therefore, it is no longer one person interacting with another person; rather, it becomes God interacting with God - members of the Body of Christ working harmoniously in the one Spirit moving together as one to bring about heaven on earth.
The gospel echoes the previous sentiments about individuality when Christ says that we cannot be His disciples if we don't hate each other. He doesn't mean to literally hate your family. In fact, a lot of times, we love our family members. But that love has its limits, and God is challenging us not to love in that way, but rather, to love as He loves. It is His Love, Divine Love, Perfect Love, Heavenly Love that is the foundation of our faith. "We could preach with tongues of angels, but without love, we're just a noisy gong." So the very first step in anything heavenly, is to receive heaven first - to receive Love so as to be moved by Love in everything that we do. This is exactly what our Blessed Mother, Mary, did - allowed herself to receive the Holy Spirit, Divine Love into her womb from which God was made present. So too we, if we allow ourselves to receive, then God too can grow from within us.