Gospel reflection for the 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 26 February 2017.
First Reading: Isaiah 49:14-15
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 4:1-5
Gospel: Matthew 6:24-34
No one can serve two masters. No one can have two goals in life that lead us in opposite directions, that lure us in two quite different futures for ourselves.
What is the centre we choose for our lives? What is the desire in our lives at the root of all our other desires?
Today’s Readings for the 8th Sunday of Ordinary Time challenge us to face honestly what we really seek in life. What do we most want for our lives? What is our deepest love?
The First Reading from the Prophecy of Isaiah, a very brief reading, only six sentences, challenges us to look into ourselves. Do I really believe in God?
Do I relate to God as God really is, as God relates to me?
Do I feel God loves me? Do I feel God is in all my other loves?
God’s love for each of us is greater even than the tender love of a mother, the love a mother has for the child that came into life in her womb.
The Responsorial Psalm, Psalm 62, echoes the response of one who has begun to feel God’s love in their life.
God’s love for each one is strong and constant, faithful and enduring in one’s life, like a solid rock foundation.
Only the loveliness of God, in all our other loves, can satisfy all our longings and bring true peace to our restless lives.
Only into God’s love for us can we fully entrust our lives.
In the Second Reading from the First Letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes of this great wonder God’s love in our human lives as a hidden mystery.
But as always for Paul, his experience of God in Christ has a missionary thrust towards others.
He reminds us as servants of Christ, that we are like Christ, stewards and carers for others of the wonderful news of God’s action in our lives.
All of this prepares and disposes us to hear what Jesus is sharing with us in the Gospel Reading.
Jesus continues his teaching in the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew’s Gospel on what it means to be his disciple.
A disciple must, like Jesus himself, be single-minded, have one great goal in life. This is what Jesus meast by purity of heart.
All other loves become subordinated to, expressions and experiences of, our responding love to God’s love. All our other loves are within our love for God.
A disciple of Jesus is learning to love God in all things and all things in God.
Jesus singles out money especially, that necessary as it is, can displace God in our lives.
Desire for money becomes one’s deepest desire, worship of money instead of worship of God.
In beautiful poetic images of the birds in the air and the flowers in the fields, Jesus also warns of the danger of making food or clothes, that we all need, the central desire of life.
They can become the God we really trust.
Reflection by Fr John Reilly SJ