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HOW TO INCUR GOD'S ANGER

Father Francis's picture
Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Gal. 5:1-6 & Lk. 11:37-41

His distress over the state of the Galatians is evident in Saint Paul's impassioned words in the First Reading today. Although he is exasperated with the Galatians, he did not walk away from them. Instead he explained to them the truths of the Gospel all over again, emphasizing the free gift of salvation they had received in Christ. Though the Galatians were straying, Paul was confident that they could still return to the truth.

Repentance through the blood of Jesus was a possibility for them, just as it is for us when we wander. Paul did not give up on the Galatians because he knew that the Lord never gives up on us. Do we feel that we have wandered from Jesus? Do we feel distant from the comforting and reassuring voice of the Spirit? We must not give up! God is always waiting, always ready, to receive us back. Remember the familiar saying that, even if you walk 100 miles away from God, it only takes one step to return to Him!

It may surprise us, as it did the people in Jesus' time, that He accepted the Pharisee's dinner invitation. Whenever He met these people there were arguments. Why would Jesus accept this invitation? It was because He wanted to share the Good News with him; it was not to observe his faults and condemn him. The Pharisee, on the other hand, carefully observed Jesus to see if He met all the requirements of the law. By focusing his attention on Jesus' apparent failures, he elevated himself to the position of judge, a position that belongs to God alone.

Many of the Pharisees placed great emphasis on obeying a complex system of religious practices, some of which went far beyond the demands of the Law of Moses. In contrast, Jesus placed importance on two simple laws: being generous in our love for God and in our love for one another.

It can be very challenging for us to give money, attention or possessions to help others. Such generosity can only come from a heart that is open to God, whose generosity is not only far greater than ours, but is also contagious. Nothing demonstrates the Father's generosity more than the gift of His Son who in His turn gave up His life to rescue us from sin.

Heavenly Father, we thank You that You have given us so much. Teach us to be generous like You and not waste our time finding fault with others.

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