Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 18, 2020 Cycle A
by Rev. Jose Maria de Sousa Alvin Calado Cortes, F.S.C.B.
Chaplain Saint John Paul II National Shrine
 Washington, D.C.

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Sunday Reading Meditations

God loves us. Today’s readings remind us about this very important truth! In the first reading, we heard: “I have called you by your name” (Is 45:4). In the second reading, Saint Paul tells the people of the church of the Thessalonians that he gives thanks to God for all of them, “[…] knowing, brothers and sisters loved by God, how you were chosen” (1 Thes 1:4).

Through our Baptism, all of us have been called and chosen by name. Why does God choose people? Why does he have preferences?

We find an answer in the first reading. Cyrus was the emperor of Persia. The arrival of the Persian Empire brought freedom to the children of Israel after 70 years of exile in Babylon. The people were permitted to return to the Promised Land and rebuild their destroyed temple in Jerusalem. The first reading says that Cyrus was anointed, chosen by God. to accomplish the mission of bringing freedom to the people. God says to Cyrus: “For the sake of Jacob, my servant, of Israel, my chosen one, I have called you by name” (Is 45:4). Cyrus was chosen for the sake of the good of the people. All God’s choices are for the ultimate good.

Here we find a very important truth: the reason why we are chosen is to contribute to the common good. We are loved by God, who calls and chooses us to contribute to his people, the Church. God invites each of us to bring a fruit, make a contribution. As a mosaic is composed of a multitude of pieces, so is the Church composed of a multitude of members. We all contribute to the total design. The place we  occupy is not up to us; it is up to the artist who conceived the whole.

In the lives of the saints, we can clearly see the good they bring to all the people of God. The saints’ greatest contribution is the glory they give to God. Today’s psalm says: “Give to the Lord glory and praise; give to the Lord the glory due to his name” (Ps 96:7).

What does the Church need from us? The Church needs our personal holiness. This is the most important contribution we can make.

Sometimes I am tempted to look at my life and reflect upon what I have already done. That is not important. The most important question is whether my love of Jesus is increasing. Am I giving all glory to God or seeking my own glory? What I love, what I have, what I do—are they for the glory of God?

God loves us. From this truth, we need to derive the joy and strength to accomplish the mission that Our Lord has entrusted to us: to contribute to the good of the people of God.

We pray again for what we asked in the opening prayer: “Almighty and ever-living God, […] give us strength and joy in serving you as followers of Christ.”  Amen.