Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 2, 2018 – Year B
Readings: Dt 4:1-2, 6-8 / Ps 15 / Jas 1:17-18, 21B-22, 27 / Mk 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
We can consider ourselves blessed if, whenever we have any type of difficulty, there is somebody to help us whose power is greater than any human strength and whose intelligence is greater than any human wisdom. As God’s children, we have reason to rejoice because, as Psalm 33 says, “The Lord is our help and our shield.” He’s closer to us than we are to ourselves.
In the first reading, taken from the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses said to the people, “For what great nation is there that has gods so close to it as is the Lord, Our God, is to us whenever we call upon Him?”
As we gather here together to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Lord is, indeed, with us, and He listens to our every prayer. But He also gives us commands to follow in the sacred scriptures. The Gospel of Mark and the Letter of James, which we heard in the liturgical readings today, are examples of His commands and teachings. They are certainly not designed to make our lives difficult, but to help us live life to its fullest.
In his letter James says, “Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls. Be doers of the word and not hearers only.”
In the gospel that we just heard, taken from Chapter 7 of St. Mark, the Lord Jesus reveals one of those teachings upon which we should focus our attention as doers of the word: that nothing that enters from the outside can defile a person; but from within, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. He then emphasizes again that all these things come from within, and they defile.
Both evangelists Matthew and Luke recorded the Lord Jesus’ words when He said, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” If we would like to know what is in the heart of a person, one way of finding out is to listen to him or her speak. A God-loving person will always find a way to talk about his or her faith in any conversation.
As we go back to our homes and resume our daily responsibilities, with the help of the power of the Holy Spirit, we will try to live God’s words and teach others to do so at every opportunity. This is much easier because we are aware of God’s presence in our lives. In our daily prayers we should always ask the Lord to increase our faith, for this is what will keep us going in the midst of darkness and challenges in this world.
As St. Augustine puts it, “Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.”