In the Entrance Antiphon (from Daniel 3:31) today we acknowledge God’s Rightful Justice in condemning sin, while also expressing our faith that, should we repent, there is no limit to His Loving Forgiveness.
Ezekiel (18:25-28), warns the Israelites that, having chosen what is manifestly against God’s Will, it is illogical and unjust to blame God for the consequences arising from their sins, actions through which they have chosen to leave the safe road of loving obedience. How often do we hear someone (maybe ourselves) ask, “Why did God do this (make this happen) to me?” when the question should be, “Why did I let go of God’s protecting Hand to do what He has told me is wrong?” As we know well, God has given each one of us a spiritual Soul, Intelligence, Reason and Free will; in His Love he will not force us to ‘do as we are told’; to attain Heaven (or not to) is our choice! We suffer, in this world, because of the wrongful choices made by ourselves and others.
We will reach Heaven by heading determinedly God’s Way, however challenging; by God’s Grace we will recover from falls into sin along the way, ‘picking ourselves up’ and continuing the journey! In the Responsorial Psalm (Ps.24) we cry out, ‘Remember your Mercy, Lord’ but honesty compels us to acknowledge that God, in His Infinite Goodness, is constantly showing us the way we must go. It is we who are the forgetful ones, not God. We can stay on the safe path or, thinking, with the worldly-wise, that we ‘know better’, head into mortal danger!
Saint Paul (Phil 2: 1-11) urges us to go forward, in union with our Saviour, and with each other. We are not to consider ourselves superior in any way to others; We are not ‘in competition’ with our Brothers and Sisters, who we should consider before ourselves, neither may we presume to judge them. We must look honestly at our own shortcomings. Judgement is to be left to God Who, alone knows us ‘...through and through...’. Paul holds before us the supreme example, Jesus, the most reliable rôle model we have. To reach our Heavenly Home, we must model our lives on Christ’s. His earthly Life, lived in loving and humble submission to the Father and leading to His Passion, Death and Resurrection, is our guarantee that we will, having done our best in life, one day, be greeted in Heaven by Him Who re-opened the way closed by Adam and Eve.
In the Alleluia Verse we, again, affirm the vital necessity of backing up our declarations of love for God by living as He has wisely decreed. If we strive to go steadfastly towards God, we cannot fail to meet Him in Heaven!
In the Gospel (Mt. 21:28-32), Jesus, in the parable of the two sons, makes it very clear that ‘actions speak louder than words’. However much of an outward ‘show’ one may make of being a Christian, in the end it is the effort made which will tell. As the Saints have demonstrated, Peter and Paul among them, while one cannot guarantee that one will live a consistently perfect life it is those who, having the humility to recognise, repent of and correct their faults, however much they may, in consequence, be ‘looked down upon’ by others, who will ‘…endure to the end…’ and ‘…be saved..’.
From St. Bart's
Thoughts on the traditional teachings, devotions, seasons and matters of the Catholic Church