Reflection for Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time

  The basic Christian virtue is love. It goes in three directions: to God, to our neighbor, and to ourselves. Biblical love is primarily not an emotion – it expresses itself in deeds. Love is an abstract idea. If it does not show up in our day-by-day actions it just remains in the abstract. That is why we have to find ways to practice this great virtue. We find them in the Ten Commandments and beyond in the Bible. Today’s scripture texts points at some of these ways.
          God created us,  body and soul. As a consequence, the love for our neighbor must be directed to both their material, and spiritual welfare. On the material side, the worst possible sin against charity is injustice. To deny the harvesters  their fair wages is a sin hat cries out and shouts to the ears of the Lord.
           In the Gospel, divine judgment is just as severe on those who sin against the spiritual welfare of their neighbor. On the spiritual level the greatest act of charity is to bring others closer to God by our good example. In the Sermon of the Mount we read: “You are the light of the World … your light must shine before men so that they may see goodness in your acts and give praise to your Heavenly Father “(mt.5:14-16). The worst offense against charity on the same level would be to lead one into the darkness of sin by what we might say or do. The punishment for those who lead others astray is awesome: it would be better for them to be plunged into the sea with millstone around their necks.
      The standard by which we have to judge love for our neighbor is love for ourselves. The way I love myself , l must love others. This is also true the other way around: as I love my neighbor so must I love myself. If the greatest sin against the spiritual welfare  of my neighbor is to be his downfall, his spiritual undoing, a stumbling block on his way to salvation, the I must eliminate everything from my life that could be my spiritual downfall. Such a stumbling block could be my hand, my foot, my eye, or anything else in my life. The remedy Christ prescribes must not be taken to the letter. It is one of those oratorical exaggerations we all use to emphasize the importance of a point we want to make. It is the absolute importance of avoiding everything that could be an occasion of sin.
         Reflecting on all this, let us ask our Eucharistic Lord to grant us the grace that- as we obey the greatest of all the precepts of the Lord – it’s observance will give joy to the heart.”
         God bless you all ,
          Fr. Dominic
          Your brother in Christ!