Gift from God

Sunday, August 29th, 2021   By Rev. Michael P. Hanifin

The readings for the Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time calls us to pause for a moment and consider how we respond to God’s love for us each day.

The Gospel tells of a dialogue between the Pharisees and Jesus. The Pharisees questioned why Jesus’ disciples did not practice the ritual washing before eating a meal.

Jesus’ response reminds us to ask ourselves ‘why.’ Why do we remain faithful to God’s commands? Why do we pray or go to Mass? Why do we participate in the sacraments? Why do we love others?

Often, we are living our faith a certain way out of obligation, fear, or duty. But Jesus reminds us that the greatest way to live out our faith is through love. Our faith has obligations to provide us opportunities to love, honor, and praise the Lord. They are meant to aid us on our personal journey with Jesus Christ.

Saint James reminds us that every moment of each day is an opportunity to respond to God’s infinite love for us with love and gratitude in return.

If we approach our relationship with Jesus with this in mind, then we begin to realize that the gift of the Mass is an opportunity to worship God, the sacraments are ways to draw us closer to Him and His commandments are opportunities to love Him more faithfully.

And if we approach our day-to-day moments with this in mind, then we begin to see just how many blessings God has given us. Looking at life through the lens of gratitude helps us to see each moment as a gift with endless opportunities to respond in love.

This is how we ought to live our lives as Jesus’ disciples — by recognizing our lives as a gift and an opportunity to love God in response to how He has loved us.