My brothers and sisters in Christ,1
I as was saying, our readings today speak to us of God’s Law for our lives.
And as we know, God’s Law is the Law of love. To love God with all our hearts and all our minds and all our strength. And to love others as we love ourselves.
This is the Law of God and it is a beautiful law, a beautiful way to live. To make everything we do an act of love. This is the way to be truly happy.
As we heard in the first reading this morning, God gives us his Law as a gift. God’s Law is not a burden on us, or just a set of “rules.”
God gives us his Law to help us grow, to help us to know what is right for us, what will lead us to the happiness that God wants for our lives.
This is what Moses says in the today’s first reading:
Hear the statutes and decrees
which I am teaching you to observe,
that you may live and may enter in and take possession of the land
which the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you.
So, my brothers and sisters, God gives us his Law so that we may live, so that we may share in God’s promises and one day enter into the reward of eternal life.
And God gives us his Law, also, to set a path for our life, to show us the way to live. His Law helps us to see the world as he sees it, with his eyes. And that gives us the wisdom that we need to think right and to make good decisions.
God’s Law is a beautiful Law. It’s a great way to live our lives, — the best one. Sometimes we have the temptation of thinking that we know better. To do things our way and that we will be more happy.
That’s a temptation that we all have. And that’s also what the first readings and the Gospel are talking about: sometimes we try to “add” things to God’s Law or only do what is convenient or comfortable for us.
It’s really a human problem, it is natural. Sometimes we put our trust in things that are not really God’s will — maybe our own rules or maybe things that we think are important but are really not important.
Today we have to ask for the grace to always trust in God. To really understand as his Law is the Law of love. That he wants the best for us. In this way, we can try to understand better what is his plan and try to live according to it.
Jesus in the passage of the Gospel has strong words for the Pharisees and the scribes —because they have done just what Moses said they should not do. They have substituted their own ideas and traditions in the place of God’s commandments.
So today, in a special way, Jesus is inviting us to look into our hearts. So we have to ask ourselves today: are there areas in our Christian lives where we are just going through the motions, not really living God’s law of love. And what is that gets in the way for us, what keeps us from really follow and observing the Law of God?
It’s interesting that in the passage of the Gospel today, Jesus is reminding us — as we are reflecting on this beautiful reality of God’s Law of love in our lives. Jesus is reminding us that we are only going to be happy when we are listening to God’s words and living by God’s Word.
He gives two practical points to make sure that we are in the right direction — that we are going the right thing.
First, Jesus says, that we have to live as we believe.
We cannot say that we believe one thing and then do something else. That’s why Jesus called the Pharisees and scribes “hypocrites.”
That’s the first point that Jesus wants to make and will help us today to really reflect on what else we can do. Well, let’s ask for the grace to live as we believe.
Then secondly, he says that everything comes from within. So we need to love God with our heart. We need to love Jesus and his Blessed Mother. When we love God first, it gives unity to our lives. We are “connected” to God and his will.
It’s a beautiful, practical advice. So what is it in our hearts?
It is God in the first place and then everything else? I’m sure it is. That’s why we here this morning. But it is important for us to reflect on this practical — I can call them suggestions or observations that can really help us to live our lives better.
So how can we make sure that what it is in our hearts is what God wants, God’s love.
I think for that, it’s so important to pray. To spend time in prayer. We all are so busy doing so many things, all of them very important — well most of them maybe — we need to find time to pray. To talk to God, to listen to him.
Jesus tells us today in the Gospel: “Hear me, all of you, and understand.”
So my brothers and sisters, are we listening to Jesus? How well do we hear Jesus? Are we listening to his Word in the Gospel that we hear at Mass every Sunday? Are we “listening” to his Word in prayer, in our reading the Gospels?
When we read the Gospels, Jesus speaking to us. We hear his words, we try to understand through his example and live by his example.
So let’s make the resolution once again today to find time to pray and to read the Gospels.
It is — the Law of God — is a beautiful, beautiful plan for our lives, for humanity, and as we are reminded in the first reading of today’s Mass this is the wise way to live our lives.
So today, let us ask for that grace to live by God’s love, to listen to him, to try to live as we believe. And to make sure that what is in our heart is God’s Law and love for one another.
So today let us especially Mary our Blessed Mother for her intercession. She was always listening. The angel came and announced to her that she would be the Mother of God — she was surprised, but she listened, she said yes.
Now she’s Mary our Blessed Mother. So may she intercede for us today that we may also listen, say yes, and do God’s will in our lives, loving God and loving one another.
1. Readings (Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B): Deut. 4:1-2, 6-8; Ps. 15:2-5; Jas. 1:17-18, 21b-22, 27; Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23.