Sunday, 22 October 2017

Render Unto God, 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Mt 22:15-21
Today I’d like us all to consider a rather direct question: Do you try to fit your life around God, or, do we try to squeeze God into the spare unoccupied bits of our life?

In our modern world it can seem much more difficult to do this than it used to be. There is, quite simply, and ever-increasing sense that there is too much to do already, and where does God fit in?

The TV fills evenings that once had, naturally, more space, and thus more space for God.
Email demands replies in a way and frequency that letters did only much more slowly.
Mobile text messages also never let us stop.
Transport in cars means that there is an expectation that we travel and DO more than we would have been considered thinkable in previous generations.
Those with children find that there is an ever-increasing number of activities on offer for them.
While many of you who are retired can say how life seems more full after retirement than it did before.
There is just this sense that there is never a moment when our world isn’t already fully occupied.

So many things we feel expected to do.
So many conflicting priorities.
Where does GOD fit in that list of priorities?
Where SHOULD He fit?

Let’s try and answer that question with what the eldest among us would recognize as the first question in the Penny Catechism:
Who made you? God made you.
Who made this world and cosmos? God did.
Why did He make you? The answer to that question is NOT:
He made you so that you should rarely think of Him,
He made you so that He should be the lowest item on your priority list,
He made you so that you should plan everything else in your week and only THEN think whether you have time to pray, time for Sunday Mass, time for HIM.

The way we plan and prioritise in our lives shows what is truly important to us.
Where does something as supposedly simply as Sunday Mass get planned and prioritised?
Is it the most important and fixed part of our week?
Do we treat “the Lord’s Day” as just that -that’s how HE described it (Rev 1:10),
or, do we treat it like a day that, at best, gets Sunday Mass squeezed in so that we get on with the real priorities in our lives?

Our Catholic Faith teaches us that Sunday Mass is a non-negotiable in life.
Sunday comes only once a week.
The Mass is THE prayer Christ established, “Do THIS in memory of me…”(Lk 22:19).
It’s a serious sin to miss Mass on Sunday (CCC 2181).

What about prayer?
If God is our creator, if God is the most important thing in the universe and in our own lives, then where does our planning and prioritising put time and place for praying?

And if we don't make time for these things, how can we possibly have the spiritual clarity to see the other things we need to render unto God?

I raise these questions today because in today’s Gospel we heard the Lord say we must “Render unto God the things that are God’s”(Mt 22:21).
It’s a concept that, in our modern over-filled world, it can we easily lose sight of.

According to the Lord Jesus, the FIRST and GREATEST commandment is Mt 22:38):
“You shall love the Lord your God”(Lk 10:27)
and, not just love Him, but:
“with all your heart and strength and soul and mind”.
If someone else looked at our week, would they think that was true of us?

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