26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

09-25-2022Weekly Reflection© LPi

“If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.” Regardless of how the message of faith is received, a total conversion of mind and heart is needed for it to take root and have meaning. It is easy to become complacent and comfortable with all that life can afford us. Life can become “all about me,” preserving my livelihood and protecting my securities. Often, this drive can become so strong that we eagerly strive to protect our self-interests at the expense of others. Other people are necessary only to the extent that they are “useful” to us and profitable.

Merriam-Webster defines entitlement as “the belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges.” In a world that pretends to offer us so many necessities, this is perhaps the greatest contemporary sin. When we feel “entitled” to something, even if it is perceived necessary, our relationships can get skewed. Unless we adopt a global vision of entitlement wherein everyone is entitled to the same things, we risk becoming extremely self-focused and selfish. All we care about is defending our rights and protecting our turf. This impulse can be so strong that we pursue it even at the expense of another. Is this what God intends for his children?

Holding on to this myopic vision, the plight and station of others are off our radar and of no real concern to us. Relying on our own merits and becoming resilient to life’s challenges, we replace the true and real God with the one we created ourselves. Jesus and the prophets before him have consistently reminded us of the dangers of wealth, ignoring the poor and the needy, and becoming too fiercely independent and arrogant. Yet, we conduct our lives as if that message has never been preached. We give our faith a nod and never consider for a moment that we may be wrong in terms of what we see as important. “The things that we love tell us what we are (attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas).” Ponder those words a bit and remember that when we leave this world and go to the next one, what we loved here is what we will look for there. What we sought here may not be there.