Celebrate Sunday Mass - 10.29.23

OCTOBER 29, 2023 -- 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

10/29/2023 (1 month ago)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

My friends, brothers, and sisters in the Lord

In an Apostolic Letter entitled"The Lords Day" (Dies Domini),Pope St John Paul II gave a summary of the Christian understanding of Sunday, and underscored our obligation to honor the Lords Day. The Letter began with these words:

"The Lord's Day - as Sunday was called from Apostolic times - has always been accorded special attention in the history of the Church because of its close connection with the very core of the Christian mystery. In fact, in the weekly reckoning of time Sunday recalls the day of Christ's Resurrection. It is Easter which returns week by week, celebrating Christ's victory over sin and death, the fulfilment in him of the first creation and the dawn of "the new creation" (cf. 2 Cor 5:17). It is the day which recalls in grateful adoration the world's first day and looks forward in active hope to "the last day", when Christ will come in glory (cf. Acts 1:11; 1 Th 4:13-17) and all things will be made new (cf. Rev 21:5)".

Sometimes, Catholics and other Christians refer to Sunday as a "Christian Sabbath". Though well intentioned, this is incorrect. Sunday is "the Lords Day". This apostolic letter cites the biblical sources and the writings of the early Church manuals and early Church Fathers. The readings for the Sunday Mass set a framework for us to reflect on throughout the coming week.

In our first reading, we heard a portion of the law which was given to Moses by the Lord, for the Lords chosen people, Israel to follow. Remember, Moses has come down from the Mountain with the Ten Commandments. Now, the very way of life those commandments required is being explained in a way of life. Israel, the people of the Covenant, is to reveal Gods love to all the Nations, in the way the Jewish people live their lives for the Lord. In choosing Israel as His People, the Lord intended to use them as His Instrument to bring all Nations back to Him by revealing Himself to all the Nations through them. His plan of salvation was universal.

The Lord reminded Israel that they were "aliens" in Egypt, and that He had delivered them from bondage. Further, that they were to manifest that same sort of behavior toward all aliens. Similarly, when they encountered the poor, or lent to them, they were to behave in a manner which reflected their special relationship with the Lord.

These admonitions continue today, for the people of the New Covenant, the Church, the New Israel, which has been grafted into the vine through Jesus the Christ and empowered to live and display His way of Life. As Christians, followers of Jesus Christ, how do we treat the "aliens" in our own lives? How do we view them? How do we treat the poor, in all of their manifestations?

If we follow the advice of David in our responsorial Psalm, we will continue in a relationship with the Lord and be able to live these admonitions.

In our second reading, we continued hearing excerpts from the Apostle Paul's first Letter to the Thessalonians. St. Paul, in the verse right before the first one we heard, reminded the early Christians that they were beloved by God and that they had been called and chosen by God. Now, he reminds them that they had the power of the Holy Spirit to draw upon and the example of the Apostles to follow.

He reminded them that they had broken away from worshipping false gods and were converted for living a new way of life in Jesus Christ. When we listen to these words to the early believers, we must remember that they were just like us! And his admonitions to them apply to us. We have been converted, by God's grace. We have been saved from sin and its consequences, including death. We have been saved for a new Way of Living, by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are to follow the Way of Jesus Christ and imitate the Saints who have gone on before us.

How are we doing?

The Gospel text appointed for todayďż˝ s Holy Mass is a continuation of the 22d Chapter of St Matthew. A lawyer is trying to test Jesus on which is the greatest commandment. Jesus recites a portion of the great Shema of Israel ďż˝" we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind. In other words, with our whole person. And, we are to love our neighbor as ourselves.

They could not refute this. They recited it regularly. Though, they clearly were not living it. That was evident by their behavior toward Him.

So, this "disconnect" between what we say and how we live often continues. We all know this call to love the Lord and our neighbor includes us as well. But, do we live it? When we direct our entire lives toward the Lord and serve our neighbors. When we forget about ourselves, and put the Lord first, we find genuine happiness. To do that we need grace. Gods' Divine Life. He has given it to us fully in His Son and it is mediated through His Mystical Body, the Church.

How are we doing?

Have a wonderful Lord's Day,

Deacon Keith Fournier, JD, MTS, MPhil

Dean of Catholic Online School

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