Sunday October 1, 2023

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


“God doesn’t want right answers; he wants righteous actions.”


Good News Reflection for:

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, virgin and doctor of the Church
October 1, 2023

Today’s Prayer:

Beloved Lord: Give me a plain heart and an open mind to recognize Your work beyond my understanding. Heal me from every root of envy and pride, so that I can surrender myself to You fully. Amen.

SaintsSubscribe to Today’s Saint Quote & Prayer:
gnm.org/SaintQuotes/

Today’s Readings:

Ezekiel 18:25-28
Ps 25:4-5, 8-10, 14
Philippians 2:1-11
Matthew 21:28-32
bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/100123.cfm
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
bible.usccb.org/podcasts/audio/daily-mass-reading-podcast-october-1-2023

The correct answer isn’t always right

[ Listen to the podcast of this reflection ]

This Sunday’s Gospel story was meant to shock people who think they’re okay spiritually but do not honestly examine how well they do the Father’s will. Jesus said that tax collectors and prostitutes (professions considered to be the most contemptible and unholy) were entering the kingdom of God ahead of religious experts!

These so-called “experts” knew the correct answer to the question that Jesus posed — they knew to say yes to God — but knowing the right answer and actually DOing the right answer is the dividing line between heaven and hell.

God doesn’t want right answers; he wants righteous actions. God doesn’t want dutiful compliance to Church teachings; he wants obedience motivated by love and an enthusiastic attitude of serving in the mission of the Church.

What’s the value of going to Mass every Sunday, for example, if it doesn’t result in deeds of holiness outside the Mass? Do you know someone who’s saying “no” to coming to Mass? If they’re doing good works because they genuinely love God, who’s to say they won’t reach full unity with him sooner than people who attend every Mass but do little to help others?

God wants us to do both: Know the right answers and be righteous. Go to Mass faithfully and be changed by it. Say yes to his calling to make the world a better place by uniting ourselves to Christ in church and following out him out the door, taking him to everyone we meet.

Questions for Personal Reflection:
What opportunities to serve God in your parish or out in the community have you said “no” to? Spend some time praying to understand whether or not that was an invitation from Christ himself. What can you say “yes” to now?

Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
What types of people today are despised the most? Who seems least likely to get into heaven? (A terrorist perhaps? An ex-spouse?) How is it possible (to our surprise) that we might be greeted by them when we arrive in heaven? How would you feel about it?

For more on this, see our Video “Take, Eat, Drink: Understanding the Mass – The Concluding Rites” @ gnm-media.org/17-take-eat-drink-understanding-mass-concluding-rites/

© 2023 by Terry A. Modica

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