Celebrate Sunday Mass - 10.31.21

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10/29/2021 (4 weeks ago)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

31st Sunday of the Year -- October 31, 2021

Dear Catholic Online Community and Catholic Online School students...

I AM HAPPY TO OFFER EACH OF YOU AN INVITATION TO ONLINE SUNDAY MASS ON THE THIRTY FIRST  SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME. The readings at today's Holy Mass show us the continuity between the Hebrew Scriptures, what Christians call the Old Testament, and the New Testament.

In our first reading, we heard an excerpt from the sixth chapter of the Book of Deuteronomy. (verses 2-6) This is the "Great Commandment". The first verse, which we did not hear, gives us the best context:

 "...Now this is the commandment, the statutes, and the ordinances which the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it..." 

The faithful, practicing Jewish believer recites verses 4-9, along with two other verses, three times a day:

 "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart... 

"And you shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." 

This Great Commandment is called the "Shema", which is a Hebrew word for "Hear". When we have heard the commandment, we must respond by living differently. 

In the Gospel appointed for today, Mark 28b-34, a Scribe asks Jesus, "Which is the first of all the commandment". And Jesus recites the Shema. 

The Shema is still the first of all the commandments - and the culmination of all the commandments. But, that love for God is to be manifested with our whole person. This kind of response is only possible through grace. 

The Father sent us His Son to save us from sin and to empower us to live this commandment by sending us the Holy Spirit. We receive grace through prayer, through the Sacraments and through reading, studying and living the Word of God and the teaching of the Church.

There is a beautiful practice among faithful, practicing Jewish believers. The Hebrew scripture which sets forth the "Shema" is placed at the front door of their home. It is written on a small scroll and encased in a beautiful covering. This is called a Mezuzah. 

We have a Mezuzah on the side frame of the front door of our home in Tyler, Texas. Over the door is a crucifix. Whenever we enter our home, we touch the Mezuzah and then, gazing up at the Crucifix, we make the sign of the Cross. 

This is a personal practice, a custom. It reminds us of our call to be faithful to the Lord and love Him with our whole person. Such customs can help us to live our vocation more fully. 

Christians are called, and empowered, to live the greatest commandment. On this Lord;s Day, let us choose to do so, and ask the Lord to give us the grace to love Him with our whole person.   

Give your whole heart, mind, and strength to loving God.  This is the path to true freedom and happiness. 

May the lord bless you and your family on this Lord's Day.

Deacon Keith Fournier
Dean of Catholic Online School
Chaplain of Your Catholic Voice Foundation

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