22nd Sunday in OT, August 29,2021

The greatest gift we all have and will ever receive is the gift of life itself.  That gift was given to us most directly by our parents, whose life in turn was given to them by their parents and so on.  But ultimately the author of all life, the giver of every great gift, is God.  We assemble each weekend in thanksgiving for that precious gift, which led to the gift of eternal life promised by God’s Son to all who follow Him.

So we gather in grateful prayer.  How?  Jesus, in the Gospel quotes Isaiah when responding to the Pharisees and scribes.  “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”  How do we honor the Lord?  For Moses, it was by obedience to God’s commandments.  Whole and entire is what he demanded from the people.  Living in accord with God’s commands was possible when one took God’s word to heart.

Jesus paints a vivid picture of hypocrisy.  It is not that what we say is unimportant, but it is not nearly as important as our impulses and motivations within our hearts.  He lists all sorts of detestable impulses that can come from within our hearts-qualities and behavior that defile our purity much more seriously than failing to purify our hands or our belongings.  If our outward cleanliness does not reflect our inner attitude, it has lost its meaning.  How do we show gratitude to someone who’s given us something wonderful?  We may give them something in return or we can share it with someone else.  James tells us in our second reading, that every perfect gift comes from God and in fact God has planted the word of truth in each of us.  What should we do with that word?  James is clear, “Be doers of the word and not only hearers.”  We promise to thank God for giving us the word, we share it, and we put it into action.

Love, Peace, Joy,

Fr. Bob


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