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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Being Catholic Means Going Deeper

Being Catholic Means Going Deeper
6th Sunday Ordinary Time

How many of us can truly say that we are completely happy? How many of us can honestly say that our lives are perfect? I might even venture to say that many of us probably think that our lives could be improved in someway if we only knew what to do.

Well, Jesus shows us a little insight regarding this issue in today’s gospel message. This insight really has to do with our lives and the concept of going the extra mile, taking that extra step, and not stopping ourselves short.

We all know the 10 commandments:

• There is only One God
• Do not use God’s name in vain
• Keep Holy the Sabbath
• Honor thy Mother and Father
• Don’t Murder anyone
• Don’t commit Adultery
• We shouldn’t Steal
• We shouldn’t Lie
• We are not to Covent our Neighbor’s Wife,
• nor His Goods

We all know these, but in the gospel today, Jesus tells us that we must surpass these basic commands if we want to enter the Kingdom of God. He even gives us the example that yes we are not to kill, but even goes on to say that whoever is even angry with their brother will be judged firmly.

He further states that we are not to commit adultery, but elaborates further by clarifying that anyone who even looks at another with lust has already committed adultery in their hearts.

Life isn’t just about following a set of rules.These rules are a guide to live by, not a guide in the liberal sense, but to be used as a foundation to be built upon.

Let’s look at the 3rd commandment with regard to this understanding. Keep holy the Sabbath! Keeping the day holy isn’t accomplished by attending 1 hour of Mass and then calling it good. It means that the entire day is to be set aside for God, for fellowship, for prayer, and for honoring in a holy way the other members of our families. We have 6 days a week for work, for recreation, for chores, but Sunday is to be set aside for God and Godly relationships.

At this point some of you might begin to start tuning me out, tuning out Today’s message.

Why? Because what I am saying is not only true, but requires a response.

• One Either rejects this message, rationalizing in some way that it doesn’t entirely apply to them, because if so, it would require changing one’s habits and routine.

• Or, one responds by allowing the truth of the message to resonate within their hearts, humbly responding, and then begin by making some changes in their Sunday routine.

As we begin to realize that God has laid a foundation for us, desires our response, and encourages our growth in holiness, it is then that our eyes are opened to additional possibilities in life, methods and actions that bring deeper joy.

God has given us the commandments, and as the 1st reading states: If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you…. And before all of us are life and death, good and evil, and whichever we choose we shall be given. We have been given a guide to live by and this framework is designed to give us life, protect us, and save us.

Even today’s Responsorial Psalm reminds us: Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord. But Saint Paul goes on to say in today’s 2nd reading that there is a wisdom that is not of this day, a wisdom for the mature. It is the wisdom of God, It is mysterious and hidden. Yet God, in the form of Christ reveals to his disciples and to us that the law is not to be abolished, but fulfilled.

He has come to show us the way, giving us example after example that fulfilling the law means looking beyond the literal words, and looking for the deeper message. Jesus said, “Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow”…. But then goes on to say, “Let your yes mean yes and your no mean no, anything more is from the devil.”

As Catholics, we are always to be honest and truthful, even in the smallest of matters. There is not to be ulterior motives, hidden agendas, or selfish plans. We are to be honest, true, and transparent. There should be a simplicity to our lives where we are allotted an opportunity to frequently contemplate and seek deeper meanings, and to see God’s revelation.

Our state of holiness should be progressively advancing day by day, stagnation is not the goal. We are either moving toward God or away from God by our choices in life, our desires, and our willingness to live an authentic catholic life.

We must ask ourselves….. Are we willing to take the extra step?

Are we willing to go the extra mile?

Have we honestly listened to today’s message, or did we tune it out?

Have we allowed, in true humility, the Holy Spirit to touch us, to soften our hearts, to inspire us to live the commandments at a much deeper level, and to commit to making a few changes in our lives, stepping closer to God?

Many of us have set a minimal and acceptable standard for being a catholic.

• Weekly Mass
• Periodic Confession
• Living a pretty good life

Is that all that Christ is asking of us…. To live a pretty good life?


He wants us to be holy. He wants us to see beyond the literal rules and to go much deeper. “Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the Kingdom of God.”

He is asking us to begin today to delve deeper into what it means to be catholic.

The final questions for all of us are:

• Are we listening to his voice?
• Will we respond?
• Are we willing to turn away from worldly things, selfish things,

and look for a deeper meaning in our lives, in our relationships, and in our commitment to being an authentic Catholic Man or Woman in the world today!

An authentic Catholic Man or Woman in the world today!

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