Jesus ‘rewrites’ the old rule in a positive way. “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” The negative form is about doing as little as possible to harm others. The positive form is about doing as much as possible to benefit others. Jesus teaches an ethic of action rather than inaction regardless of how others have treated us or how they will treat us in response.
St. Peter Claver –
We are so often swayed by popularity and acceptance in this world. We are called as Christians to imitate a person who was rejected from his first day of ministry. We need to take another good look at our life with God. We need to once again renew our baptismal consecration. We are faced all through life with a choice: the blessed attitudes of Jesus or the attitudes of the world.
Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary –
Today we celebrate the life of our Blessed Mother, a woman of great faith who trusted in the promises of God. Mary is an example for all of us who need a strong faith based on the challenges we face in our world but most of all in our personal lives. From Bethlehem to Nazareth, from Cana to Calvary, Mary walked by faith.
Jesus knew that he was being watched but he did not hesitate to heal the man. The Pharisees were observing but did not acknowledge the power of God in their midst. They loved their system of rules and regulations more than they loved God. Maybe we at times hold on to OUR ways and not be open to other possibilities. Are we so stubborn in our beliefs and our actions that we can destroy a relationship rather than enhance it?
Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time –
God has brought us together into this family for a definite purpose. We are meant to be demonstrating by our life together what God is able to accomplish. We are the Church: the family of God: the people whose relationships with each other are a demonstration of the power of the Spirit of God. This is what Jesus’ message is all about, our relationship with God and how that relationship flows into our relationship with one another.
Jesus seems to insist that human need takes precedence over the dictates of law. Hunger has priority over custom. Humans are lords of the sabbath, not slaves to it. At some point the Pharisees had forgotten that the sabbath was only a means of giving proper worship to God. Once the sabbath came to be an end, the Pharisees filled it with rules. In effect Jesus said to the Pharisees “Don’t forget what the sabbath is all about.”
Change is difficult for all of us, but life is all about change. In the course of life we often encounter “old wine skins” and it has nothing to do with age. The Church is not static. As a community of human beings, it changes. If we are to remain true to Jesus Christ, we need to do some soul searching before we begin proclaiming the Gospel to others.
St. Gregory the Great –
In our lives there are moments when we perceive ourselves as empty and not worthy of God’s love, but we are restored through the compassion of another who already has been transformed by the love of God. And it is through our own brokenness that we, in turn, can compassionately encourage another person to appreciate the love of God in their life.
Father, by the power of the Spirit, never cease to draw us to you in prayer. Teach us to do your will in the midst of the world around us. Give us the gift of discernment so that we are never seduced into doing the will of the crowd.
Are we still intimidated by the world’s standards being sure that we measure up to the world’s expectations of us? Or are we more concerned about what God expects of us? Do we tip toe out onto the stage of life and beg pardon for disturbing peoples’ consciences? Can we take a stand on issues or do we bend with the fads of the times?