Seeing with God's Eyes


In 1 Samuel, God advises the prophet Samuel not to observe as men see but as God sees. He tells him to "look to the heart." This is the movement of this Sunday's Gospel reading. "Beware the scribes," Jesus advises. He points out their public greetings and "seats of honor," which stands in sharp contrast to their private greed. For the Jewish people of Jesus' day, honor resides at the top. Power and prestige created a high profile back then as it still does today. After his warning, Jesus turns his disciples' attention elsewhere: a poor widow. "She, from her poverty, has contributed all she had." While the scribes donated large sums to the temple, they did so "from their surplus wealth." This woman -- in her faith and devotion -- offers "her whole livelihood."


The Invitation to Love


"You are not far from the kingdom of God." What does it mean to be close to God's kingdom? In today's Gospel, Jesus is in a dialogue with teachers of the law. They know well the Law of Moses, with its complex codes, expectations, and punishments. What will Jesus say? "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength ... You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Jesus effortlessly distills all the books of law into two commands. The simplicity of the Gospel message doesn't mean it's easy to follow. Far from it! The simplicity of the Gospel indicates its totality. Anything that requires the passions of our heart, the choice of our soul, the reason in our mind, or the strength of our body - all of this ought to be animated by love. As you can imagine, that means pretty much everything! The love of God and love of neighbor is meant to flow into our entire lives.  




Adam was given the task of naming all the animalsin the garden. As amazing as they all were, nonecomplimented his body or had his intellect. Adamlonged for compatibility and relationship so Godmade a suitable partner for Adam from his very ownbody. When Adam looked at the gift of Eve, provided by the Father, he exclaimed “At last, hereis one of my own kind, bone taken from my bone,and flesh taken my flesh” (Gen 2:23).


A True Leader


We learn good and bad behaviors from our families of origin. As adults we must analyze what was healthy in our parent's relationship and what was destructive. Removing the destructive tendencies from our lives can take years of hard work, prayer and frequent reception of the sacraments to rid ourselves from the same behavior. A destructive behavior that many young men must identify and remove is one of control. They mistakenly perceive being the head of the family as a position of ruling over wife and family, expecting obedience and service. They think control through force, manipulation, threats, coercion and anger are the methods to be used to achieve this end. This makes for a very unhappy home.