The Twenty-ninth Sunday
in Ordinary Time
October 16, 2017
Fr. José Maria Alvim Cortes, F.S.C.B.

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Sunday Reading Meditations

God loves us. Today’s readings remind us about this very important truth! In the first reading, we heard: “I have called you by your name” (Is 45:4). Moreover, in the second reading Saint Paul says: “[…] Knowing, brothers and sisters loved by God, how you were chosen” (1 Thes 1:4).

In our baptism, we all have been called and chosen by name. Why does God choose people? Why does he have preferences?

We can find an answer in the first reading. Cyrus was the emperor of Persia. The arrival of the Persian Empire brought freedom for Israel after 70 years of exile in Babylon. The people could come back to Jerusalem and rebuild the destroyed temple; they could return to the Promised Land. The first reading says that Cyrus was anointed, chosen by God to accomplish this mission, to bring freedom to the people. God says to Cyrus: “For the sake of Jacob, my servant, of Israel, my chosen one, I have called you by name” (Is 45:4). The reason for Cyrus to be chosen was the good of the people. All God’s choices take the ultimate good of the people into account.

Here we can find a very important truth: the reason for being chosen is the good of the people. We are loved by God, called and chosen by him to contribute something to His people, the Church. There is a fruit, a contribution, hat God invites me to bring to His Church. As a mosaic is composed of a multitude of pieces, so the Church is composed of a multitude of members. We all contribute to the common design. In addition, the place that we have to occupy is not up to us; it is up to the artist who conceived the whole.

We can clearly understand this in the lives of the saints. We can see the good that comes through their lives to all the people of God. What is the contribution that saints give to the people of God? Looking at them, we understand that their greatest contribution is the glory they give to God. Today’s Psalm says: “Give to the Lord glory and praise; give to the Lord the glory due to his name” (Ps 96:7).

What does the Church need from us? The good that the Church needs from us is our personal holiness. This is the most important contribution that we have to give to the people of God.

Sometimes I have the temptation to look at my life and see what I have already done. That is not important. The most important question is whether my love of Jesus is increasing. Am I giving glory to God or am I looking for my own glory? What I love, what I have, what I do—are they for the glory of God or for my own glory?

God loves us. From this truth, we have to find the joy and the strength to accomplish the mission that Our Lord gave to us: to contribute to the good of the people of God.

We ask again what we have already asked in the opening prayer: “Almighty and ever-living God, […] give us strength and joy in serving you as followers of Christ.”  Amen.

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