October 24, 2014

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

This Sunday’s Readings: October 26, 2014
Exodus 22:20-26
Psalm 18:2-4, 47, 51
1 Thessalonians 1:5c-10
Matthew 22:34-40
www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102614.cfm
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
ccc.usccb.org/cccradio/NABPodcasts/14_10_26.mp3

This Sunday's Gospel reading reminds us that we cannot love God without loving ourselves and others, but God must always come first.

When we have difficulty loving God with all our heart, mind and soul all the time, every day, every moment, no matter what's going on, it's usually because we're spending too much time focused on other people and/or on our own plans and wishes.

Yes, we must focus on others in order to love them. And yes we must focus on our own needs so that we can love others as much as we love ourselves. Our own needs are important and we are responsible for seeing that our needs get met; otherwise we don't have enough to share with others – enough energy, enough enthusiasm, enough kindness, enough patience, etc. Likewise, we can't focus so much on ourselves that we neglect the needs of others.

So the question then becomes: What are the priorities? In other words: How much time should we spend alone with God? How much time should we spend nurturing ourselves? How much of our time and needs and wants should be sacrificed for the sake of others?

Interestingly, we find the right balance only after we put God first and make our relationship with him our highest priority. This divine friendship is what heals us in our unmet needs. It's what empowers us to love others even when they are difficult to love. And we don't have to be alone with God all day to have intimacy with him.

We love him first and foremost simply by relying on him for success in loving others and ourselves. As long as we keep turning to him for guidance, healing and strength, we are loving him with all our heart, mind and soul all the time, every day, every moment, no matter what's going on.

Questions for Personal Reflection:
How good are you at setting priorities and keeping God at the top? What puts your priorities out of order? What can you do to increase God's role in your everyday life?

Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
Describe some of the techniques you've used to increase God's priority in your everyday life. How has focusing on your relationship with God helped you to be more loving to yourself and kinder toward others?

© 2014 by Terry A. Modica of Good News Ministries (gnm.org)
For PERMISSION to copy this reflection, go to gnm.org/copyrights.htm
For professionally published reflections and other Good News materials for RCIA, church bulletins, etc., please visit Catholic Digital Resources at catholicdr.com

To sign up to receive the Good News Reflections by email, go to gogoodnews.net/DailyReflections

October 23, 2014

Friday of the 29th Week of Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings: October 24, 2014
Ephesians 4:1-6
Psalm 24:1-6
Luke 12:54-59
www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102414.cfm
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
ccc.usccb.org/cccradio/NABPodcasts/14_10_24.mp3

Confused? Pay attention!

What big question about your life do you have? In today’s Gospel passage, we're reminded that we already have the answer! We know how to interpret the signs of nature; therefore we have the ability to discern what God is doing in our lives and in the world.

Are you surprised that you have this ability? If you're a person of prayer, constantly dialoging with God about everything that happens, the Holy Spirit is explaining to you what you need to know, when you need to know it. Trust this process! Even when you’re not sure it’s his voice guiding you, Jesus will make sure that you don’t misinterpret him very long.

Are you worried about the future? We don't need to go to fortune tellers (which is a sin; see Deut. 18:10-12), and we don't need to seek out holy visionaries, because if we pay attention, God makes his will clear – not every detail of his plan, but certainly his will for today, one step at a time as we move forward in the fulfillment of that plan.

However, we get confused if we listen to the desires of our own will when it contradicts God's, or if we listen to the voices of logic when God doesn't make sense, or if we trust the half-truths and lies that are spoken by Fear.

The portents are plainly evident. We can eliminate a lot of aggravation and misdirected decisions and mistake-laden frustrations, not to mention sins and self-inflicted sufferings, if we pay attention to the multiple ways that God is delivering his guidance to us.

If we take note of the signs of the times, through the Holy Spirit we can discern the good changes that are approaching. When hardships are hardest and the dark night is darkest, a new dawn is going to arise, and probably soon. When evil attacks us with greater vengeance, it's because the devil knows his time is short, praise Jesus! But if we focus on the problems and not on Jesus, we continue to feel frustrated and dissatisfied and frightened. We create our own misery!

The most important observation to make is the condition of our own soul. Jesus says, "Why not judge for yourselves what is right?" The answer is already within us, because the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Truth – has been living in us since our baptism.

If you don't already have one, find a spiritual director, i.e., a priest or religious or qualified lay person who can help you read the signs of your life. Your local parish or diocesan center probably has a list of available spiritual directors. But first, pray for discernment about which person the wind of the Spirit is blowing you toward!

God doesn't want us to be confused. He certainly won't ignore our need for the truth. He always answers our questions – and we hear him if we but pay attention.

© 2014 by Terry A. Modica of Good News Ministries (gnm.org)
For PERMISSION to copy this reflection, go to gnm.org/copyrights.htm
For professionally published reflections and other Good News materials for RCIA, church bulletins, etc., please visit Catholic Digital Resources at catholicdr.com

To sign up to receive the Good News Reflections by email, go to gogoodnews.net/DailyReflections