The Lord says this:
Israel, come back to the Lord your God;
your iniquity was the cause of your downfall.
Provide yourself with words
and come back to the Lord.
Say to him, ‘Take all iniquity away
so that we may have happiness again
and offer you our words of praise.
Assyria cannot save us,
we will not ride horses any more,
or say, “Our God!” to what our own hands have made,
for you are the one in whom orphans find compassion.’
– I will heal their disloyalty,
I will love them with all my heart,
for my anger has turned from them.
I will fall like dew on Israel.
He shall bloom like the lily,
and thrust out roots like the poplar,
his shoots will spread far;
he will have the beauty of the olive
and the fragrance of Lebanon.
They will come back to live in my shade;
they will grow corn that flourishes,
they will cultivate vines
as renowned as the wine of Helbon.
What has Ephraim to do with idols any more
when it is I who hear his prayer and care for him?
I am like a cypress ever green,
all your fruitfulness comes from me.
Let the wise man understand these words.
Let the intelligent man grasp their meaning.
For the ways of the Lord are straight,
and virtuous men walk in them,
but sinners stumble.
One of the scribes came up to Jesus and put a question to him, ‘Which is the first of all the commandments?’ Jesus replied, ‘This is the first: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You must love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.’ The scribe said to him, ‘Well spoken, Master; what you have said is true: that he is one and there is no other. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself, this is far more important than any holocaust or sacrifice.’ Jesus, seeing how wisely he had spoken, said, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ And after that no one dared to question him any more.
You are not far from the Kingdom of God
As Catholics, we are not far from the Kingdom of God because we have been given the power to become the children of God and His witnesses through our baptism and confirmation. We also have the Sacraments as the outward signs of inner graces to help us become better persons until we achieve perfection in the likeness of God. We are even experiencing Heaven at the Holy Mass when we worship God together with all the Angels, the Saints and the congregation because we are the temple of God.
Should you fail one of the Ten Commandments, there is the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Let us remember the words of Holy Father Francis “Do not be afraid of the Confession.” Do not be afraid but strive to live out what God has been calling you to, because we have everything that we need for our vocations and callings from Him. Sometimes, all we need is a plunge of faith on our part, to just trust Him, let go and leave all our attachments and concerns behind. Or maybe just make even a baby-step towards Him. After all, our ultimate goal is to become the citizen of Heaven, namely the Saints.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Michael Goo)
Prayer: O Jesus, come into our hearts and stay with us. Strengthen us in Your love and graces. Never permit us to be separated from You by our sins. O Mother Mary, help us to revere Your Beloved Son, Jesus. Amen.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks to God for all the rich graces we have.