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Sunday, September 29, 1996

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26th Sunday Ordinary Time

Ezekiel 18:25-28
Psalm 25
Philippians 2:1-11
Matthew 21:28-32

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learning to love

"Which of the two did what the father wanted?" —Matthew 21:31

Jesus obediently accepted even death (Phil 2:8). "Just as through one man's disobedience all became sinners, so through one man's obedience all shall become just" (Rm 5:19). Life in Christ is "a life of obedience" (1 Pt 1:2).

Obedience is so important because it is the main way to learn how to love and to express love. Love means to lay down our lives for others (see 1 Jn 3:16). Love is self-giving, not selfishness. From childhood to adulthood, we grow into love by doing thousands of acts of obedience. As we deny ourselves repeatedly, we eventually receive God's grace to obey — not out of necessity or self-interest but out of self-sacrificial love. This love in turn leads to better obedience with purer motives. Love inspires the best obedience, and obedience is the best expression of love as well as the means by which we learn to love. "The love of God consists in this: that we keep His commandments" (1 Jn 5:3). Jesus taught: "You will live in My love if you keep My commandments, even as I have kept My Father's commandments, and live in His love" (Jn 15:10).

"God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him" (1 Jn 4:16). The meaning of life is to love God totally and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mt 22:37, 39). The way God graces us with love is primarily through obedience. Therefore, the key to the meaning of life is obedience.

Repent of disobeying. Rejoice to obey. Obey completely (see 2 Cor 10:6). Learn to love.

Prayer:  Father, may I recognize the patterns of disobedience in my life. By Your grace, may I break these patterns.

Promise:  "Since he has turned away from all the sins which he committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die." —Ez 18:28

Praise:  Alleluia! "Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" (1 Cor 15:54-55) Jesus is risen! Alleluia!

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert J. Buschmiller, January 29, 1996

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 5, 1996