Friday January 20, 2023

Good News Reflections:
Making scripture meaningful to your daily life
by Terry Modica


“We’re happiest when we let the Holy Spirit within us take over so that we behave like Jesus.”


Good News Reflection for:

Friday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time
January 20, 2023

Today’s Prayer:

Dear Lord, I want to reply decisively to Your call and to the mission You entrust to me today. Amen.

SaintsToday’s Saint Quote & Prayer:
gnm.org/SaintQuotes/

Today’s Readings:

Hebrews 8:6-13
Psalm 85:8, 10-14
Mark 3:13-19
bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/012023.cfm
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
bible.usccb.org/podcasts/audio/2023-01-20-usccb-daily-mass-readings

A covenant of the heart

[ Listen to the podcast of this reflection ]

Have you ever watched a child who repeatedly disobeys the rules, despite all warnings and punishments? Isn’t it exasperating? God feels the same way about you and me when we ignore his commandments. So, he came up with a solution. He’s such a wonderful parent!

Today’s first reading explains it well: God, finding fault with us, set up a new covenant and made it easier for us to remain faithful to it.

The reason it’s easier is not because the new covenant has fewer rules. In fact, Jesus made obedience much harder by telling us to imitate him; for example: love our enemies, go the extra mile for people who don’t deserve it, never retaliate when we’re wronged, accept persecution as a blessing.

In the Old Days, obedience meant gouging out the eye of someone who gouged yours out in a brawl, which was much better than destroying the bully’s whole family, as they used to do. Then Jesus came along and said, “Treat others the way you would like to be treated! If he punches out your eye, forgive him and then bake him a cake!” Or something like that.

So how is the new covenant easier? Jesus took our sins to his death and then conquered death and ascended to heaven. Then he gave us his own Holy Spirit. Since Christ’s own holiness is now active within us, God’s laws are “written upon our hearts.” It’s no longer just an act of the will; it’s an act of the heart! If we truly love God in our hearts, we truly desire to become like him.

In other words, behaving like Jesus is now an instinct that comes from deep within our souls. Think about it. When you do something that’s unloving (a.k.a. sinful), how do you feel? Are you enjoying the moment? The last time you lashed out in anger, did you get an overwhelming sense of “ahhhhh, how wonderful I feel now!” — or did you feel cranky and unhappy?

We’re happiest when we let the Holy Spirit within us take over so that we behave like Jesus. Deep down, in our hearts, we know what we’re supposed to do. And just in case we misread our hearts, the message is plastered all over the Bible, all over the lyrics of Christian music, all over the writings of Saints, all over the Rosary, and even in the smile of the kid who finally stopped getting into trouble.

However, be careful and discerning. Unless we compare what we see and hear on the outside with what the Holy Spirit is telling us on the inside, we will not stop returning to sinful ways. A wonderful prayer that connects our heads to our hearts is: “Holy Spirit, HELP!”

To help you reflect further on this, use our WordByte: “What motivates you during tough times?” @ https://wordbytes.org/faith/motivates-in-tough-times/

© 2023 by Terry A. Modica

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