Community Word: Jesus enlightens the hearts of those who trust in God’s ways.
Order: “Be transformed.” (Rom 12:2b)
The Sunday liturgical readings for the month of September are summed up in our community word – Jesus enlightens the hearts of those who trust in God’s ways. We trust God when we are in relationship with Him, a relationship founded in the Truth of His word. As we diligently read, reflect and understand His word with purpose, we are able to set our eyes on God and trust Him more. God surely helps us grow in our faith even when at times we may be distracted by the challenges and adversities in our spiritual journey. And as we remain deeply rooted in His promises, Jesus will enlighten our hearts and enable us to respond to His command to “Be transformed,” (Rom 12:2b).
The Theme for the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Week 1) is – Our hearts are enlightened when we trust in God’s plan for our life. God invites us to offer ourselves as living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to Him that we may realize the full potential of our lives. Jesus, as well as Jeremiah in 1st reading, fulfil God’s will in spite of much opposition. God knows what is best for us and gives us hope in our struggles and burdens. As we deny ourselves, carry our cross daily and follow Jesus’ ways, He assures us of His promise – “Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it,” (Mt 16:25b).
Our hearts are enlightened when we are reconciled with others in the love of God is the theme for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Week 2). ‘Hate the sin but love the sinner’ is a good guideline whenever we find it difficult to forgive or correct a wrongdoing. We have a moral obligation to correct any wrongdoing, whether in the family, workplace or community we serve. But it is to be done with love and respect as brothers and sisters of one Father. To strengthen our resolve to look beyond ones faults, St. Paul gives us this counsel – “Owe no one anything, except to love one another.” Loving others through God’s eyes will allow us to reap His promise – “If two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by their heavenly Father,” (Mt 18:19).
For the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Week 3) the theme is – Our hearts are enlightened when we forgive others and treat them with compassion. The message of the gospel calls us to forgive just as Christ forgives. But as human beings, it is always difficult to ask and extend forgiveness. God understands that it is a great challenge for us to follow His ways. So, He constantly reminds us that we need to fix our eyes on His Son, Jesus. St. Paul says: “As we belong to Christ, we live to the Lord who is full of compassion, love and mercy.” If we are merciful like Jesus, we gain to benefit from this promises – “Forgive your neighbor’s injustice, then your own sins will be forgiven,” (Sir 28:2).
Our hearts are enlightened when we respond to God’s grace with gratefulness is the theme for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Week 4). God’s mercy is beyond measure. We may forget Him at times especially when everything is going well for us. Yet, He patiently waits for us to humbly call on Him in prayer for the things that we need. We do not deserve anything from Him but He will surely answer our prayers when we come to Him with grateful and humble hearts. This is God’s promise for us this week: “The Lord is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth,” (Ps 145:18).
Heavenly Father, we are grateful for Your love and mercy. Thank you for Your Son, Jesus Christ, who shows us the way to be His true disciples and followers – to die to self, carry our crosses and follow Him. When it becomes difficult to follow this path and we choose to turn away, give us the grace and guidance to come back to You. Through Your Holy Spirit, give us the strength to persevere in following Christ and imitate His ways and make Him known to others that Your name may be glorified. Amen.