by Sister Sally Ann Brickner
When overhearing a conversation about another person have you ever questioned the perceptions being shared and wondered: "Could this be the same individual whom I know?" Or, during the sentencing phase of a trial, the victim's perceptions of the convicted person might clash dramatically with those of the criminal's parents who love their child despite what he or she has done.
The readings for the 24th Sunday present varied images of God. Exodus reveals God as angry with the Chosen People who have turned to idols. Only because of Moses' pleading does God relent from inflicting punishment on them. In contrast, Luke portrays Jesus painstakingly teaching the Pharisees and scribes (as well as His own disciples) about the nature of God as Love. Compassionately concerned about the lost and forsaken, Jesus' three parables manifest God rejoicing over the return of one repentant soul or one wayward child.
How do I see God? Is my God vengeful and angry, or is my God filled with boundless compassion such as Paul experienced in Christ Jesus? Maybe the way I perceive God is reflected in the way I treat others. Do I feel anger when others don't "measure up" to my expectations? Or do I feel compassion for all persons and creation knowing that our destinies are intertwined, that we are all part of one another?
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like thine. Let me feel the working of your mercy in me that I may serve others with a heart of compassion as You have treated me.
Chapter 30, US Catholic Catechism for Adults
You shall not commit
by Sister Lynne Marie Simonich
In the Sacrament of Marriage, spouses vow to remain faithful to each other forever. Their words of commitment mirror the love and fidelity God has with all of humanity.
The sacramental bond of husband and wife is "unitive and procreative" ... "the unitive aspect unites couples in marital acts of self-gift. The procreative aspect calls couples to be open to children -- a gift from God" (p. 80, Study Guide).
The Sixth Commandment forbids adultery, divorce, polygamy and free union (CCC 2400). This commandment invites all people, married or single, to live the virtue of chastity - "chastity blossoms in friendship and respect of the dignity of each human person" (p. 81, Study Guide).