26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (October 1, 2017)

In today’s Gospel Jesus tells us that if we believe in and live His teachings we will enter the kingdom of God. Francis de Sales notes:

Jesus comes to teach us what we ought to do to love divinely. He confounds a culture that leads us to pursue false goals, a culture that never ceases to say, “How happy are the wealthy!” For Jesus, the blessed are they who conduct themselves in this life with trust in God. They will win perpetual peace and tranquility. They hear the word of God, keep it and profit by it.

There are two reasons why people do not profit from the word of God. First, they may indeed hear it and be interiorly moved by it. Yet, they postpone acting on it until tomorrow. Our life is the today in which we are living. Who can promise themselves a tomorrow? Our life consists in this present moment in which we are living. We can only assure ourselves of this moment that we now enjoy however brief it may be.

Second, some people have a great deal of knowledge. They amass all sorts of spiritual advice and information, but never put it into practice. We only learn well the teachings of Jesus when they become a part of our daily living. To live Jesus, we must allow ourselves to let go of our disordered emotions, habits, and affections.

We need to transform our emotions and affections so that they help us to become a divinely loving person. We do this by letting go of all that is not of God in us. To let go of our vices, we must practice the virtues opposed to the vice that we desire to abandon. For instance, if our anger is disordered, then we must practice gentleness and patience. Do not trouble yourself with anything else, except to follow Jesus’ teachings. Trust in the goodness of God, who will surely provide all that you need to enter the kingdom of God.

(Adapted from the Sermons of St. Francis de Sales, L. Fiorelli, Ed.)