Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time (September 2, 2015)

Today, the Scriptures focus our attention on two basic attitudes that are to characterize us as a community. The first: the law of God (the word of God) is meant to change our hearts, and then our actions. The second: God’s word is meant to be lived, not just heard.

Jesus reminded the Pharisees in today’s Gospel that good and evil come from what is in our hearts, not from some outside law. Jesus keeps calling us to a change of heart. That’s the only way that our actions can truly be holy actions. When we allow ourselves to be open and receive the immense love that God has for us and understand how passionately God desires us to live in his love, then our hearts will truly change. As a result, we are better able to hear God’s word for what it is – a word spoken to us because he loves us and desires us to be one with him.

We all know what happens in our life when someone truly loves us: how free we feel to be our self, how openly and generously we act, how much we seek to do what pleases the one who loves us. The same is true when we open ourselves to the love God has for us. God’s love for us is unconditional and everlasting; God loves us just because he made us in his image. I know we have all heard those words many times. But do you, do I, really believe them?

Have we spent time with God alone and asked God to open us to experience the depths of his love for us? God desires to do just that if we are willing to spend quiet time with him.

When we do begin to understand and accept God’s great love for us, then we are drawn to love in return. Loving God with our whole being is the gift we receive, and that love overflows to touch the lives of all around us, especially those who are in need of experiencing God’s love.

Today’s Scriptures call us to look more carefully to our God who loves us, and then look inside ourselves, at our heart. Am I hearing God’s word as a word of love for me? Am I letting God’s word of love change my heart? Do I spend enough time with God so that I am renewed by his love?

God’s love is what makes us the Body of Christ, a community of faith. May we be wise in choosing to live by God’s love.