30th Sunday of Ordinary time – Year A

by Fr Francis Huwn msfs

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Ex 22: 20-26; Ps 18:2-4, 47. 51; 1 Thes 1:5-10;
Mt 22:34-40

Distract them so that they will not fall in love with God”

A priest found a gravestone in a cemetery with the inscription: ‘Here lies So-and-So, who died at the age of 90 but didn’t live more than three years.’ When he asked the meaning of it, they told him it belonged to a man who converted to the love of God when he was 87. So, he wanted to leave written in stone that only those years he spent loving God were the years he was ‘alive’. For he only considered worth mentioning the years he had spent in love with God.

How do we love God with all our heart, soul and mind? Is it possible to love God above all else? Many people say that as they grow older their relationship with God becomes much more central in their life. Many people find that their faith deepens in the autumn of life, often as a result of suffering. During this lockdown and covid-19 pandemic, the famous saying, “Fr, I miss the Holy Mass” is not expressed by none other than the aged faithful Christians. Hardly I hear the young people saying this. There is a sense in which we could say that it takes a lifetime of practice to love God with all our heart, soul and mind, to live the first commandment, putting God before all else. The young people find this more challenging in this confused world that distracts them from getting closer to God.

Once, Satan called a worldwide convention of his demons. In his opening address he said, “We cannot keep Christians from going to church. We cannot keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth. The important thing we must do is to keep them from forming an intimate relationship with their saviour. Once they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken. Steal their time, so they do not have time to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ. We should hear people saying, “O! I don’t have time for prayer, no time for church.” This is what I want you to do,” said the devil. “Distract them so that they will not have time to build and maintain a relationship with Christ throughout their day!”

“How shall we do this?” his demons shouted.

“Keep them busy in the nonessentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds,” he answered. “Tempt them to spend, spend, spend and borrow, borrow, borrow. Persuade the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6-7 days each week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their empty lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their children. As their families fall apart, their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work!

“Overstimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still, small voice of God speaking to them. Entice them to have noise around them always so they cannot hear Christ speaking to them. Fill the coffee tables with magazines and newspapers. Hammer their minds with the news 24 hours a day. Flood their mailboxes with mail-order catalogues, sweepstakes, and every kind of newsletters and promotions offering free products, services, and false hopes.

“Keep skinny, beautiful models in the magazines and on TV so that their husbands will believe that outward beauty is what’s important, and they will become dissatisfied with their wives. Keep athletically built men on the TV and in magazines so that wives will not look at the character of their husbands and become dissatisfied with them.

“Keep husbands and wives going so much that they are too tired to love each other at night. If they do not receive the love they need, they will begin to look elsewhere. That will fragment their families quickly!

“Give them Santa Claus to distract them from teaching their children the real meaning of Christmas. Give them an Easter bunny so they will not talk about Christ’s resurrection and power over sin and death. Even in their recreation, let them be excessive.

“Keep them too busy with TV, WhatsApp, Facebook and so forth. Encourage them to go to amusement parks, sporting events, concerts, and movies instead. Keep them busy, busy, busy!”

It was quite a plan. The demons went eagerly to their assignments, trying to involve Christians in the nonessentials of life so that they would have little or no time for God, for their families, and much less time to tell others about Jesus’ power to change lives.

Indeed, the evil one has succeeded his schemes and distracted Christians from loving the Lord with all heart, with all soul, and with all mind. The evil one continues to build many bridges and walls that separate, divide and distance people from one another. If only we learn to spend our lives in loving God, we would learn to mend the brokenness, build unity and enhance fidelity among spouse. Watch out! The devil has sent out many of his agents to make you busy, busy, busy! So that we don’t have time for the Lord. Let us remember , “All the time that we spend without loving God is wasted.”