2022.09.30 Sunday Gospel Reflections

The Lord's Day Reflection: ‘You crown the year with your goodness’

As the Church marks the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Fr. Luke Gregory, OFM, offers his thoughts on the day’s liturgical readings under the theme: “You crown the year with your goodness”.

By Fr Luke Gregory, OFM

You crown the year with your goodness! This exclamation of grateful wonder of the psalmist recognizes, contemplates and celebrates God’s fidelity in the passing of time.

In this summer period, during which, perhaps, we may have the opportunity to slow down the frenetic pace of our daily life, to relax in our activities over a wider span of the hours of daylight and to enjoy, with greater serenity, family relationships and with friends, we are also offered the opportunity to reread our time spent with a freer perspective.

Accustomed or, sometimes, forced to read events with a horizontal gaze, driven by the urgency of having to face the thousand needs and urgencies that often arise, we risk feeling oppressed by life, deprived of the freedom of decision, almost shredded by an implacable mechanism.

Let us try to recover a more contemplative gaze in the scenarios of life so that we can discern the fidelity of the Lord, who crowns the year with His manifold benefits.

If we obstinately claim to be the “interpretative criterion” of all things and every relationship, everything will appear limited, fragile and threatening.

Rediscovering, in the folds of everyday life, the Lord’s discreet and yet powerful capacity to make Himself present will reopen before us the horizon of hope and the fascination of striving to attain goodness and eternal life.

In the restlessness that arises from not knowing what to choose and how to understand the mysteries of our heart, the Lord reaches out to us with the luminous truth of His living and dynamic Word.

The simplicity of this dynamism we can see in the refreshing rain that falls freely from above and keeps today’s grass green, and so with snow, which guarantees the reserve of water for the hottest periods.

His goodness, meticulously planned, is reflected in His creation for our physical and spiritual well-being. Even in the anguish caused by our sins or the wickedness of others, the grace of forgiveness, through His bountiful Mercy, received and given freely, regenerates newness and joy.

Like the power of the sickle and the plow, which free the fields from brushwood and brambles and tillage of the soil from the hardest stones and clods, so that the seed can penetrate the soil, root and germinate until the ear is fully ripe.

In the face of the many challenges that reach us from outside, distractions which flood our souls and make us feel powerless and without energy, the sublime gift of the Eucharist guarantees us the only strength we really need, for therein we are sure and certain that we receive Him in fullness and freely, His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

How we need this remedy for our souls when we are so often engulfed and fragmented in the impedimenta of our postmodern and liquid society, which seem almost to take away all true identity and dignity from the person.

The grace of the Holy Spirit, the awareness of having a Father who is in heaven and a lasting friendship with Jesus, who loves us to the point of giving Himself totally for our sake, bring about that interior unification that gives existence to the taste of eternity and allows us to live, here and now, with true freedom and authentic dignity.

A gaze that is only horizontal, totally bent on the things of the earth, attentive only to the fragment, makes us fall into discouragement, loss of meaning and loneliness.

The contemplative gaze of faith, ready to recognize God’s provident and faithful action, dispels the clouds that obscure the radiant sun in our lives, pierces the darkness that oppresses hope and shows a horizon in which each fragment finds its proportion and meaning.

The Christian who cultivates a gaze like this is not a naive person who pretends not to see the fatigue of living and the dramas that mark everyday life, but rather, he is truly wise: he knows that creation “groans and suffers in birth pangs”, as the Apostle Paul says, but he is sustained by the certainty “that the sufferings of the present time are not comparable to the future glory that will be revealed to us” and indeed awaits us.

During this summer period when we may have more time to read and contemplate beauty, Laudato si’ and Fratelli tutti are worth re-reading. Therein the theme of the ardent expectation of creation is directed towards the revelation of the children of God.

If we mature our capacity to recognize God’s faithful action in our common home, in ourselves, in others and in history, we will become luminous peacemakers and promoters of authentically fraternal relationships.

Enjoy your summer time!

* Custody of the Holy Land

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15 July 2023, 15:00