Today’s Gospel: Matthew 1:18-25
The virtue that permeates today’s Gospel is obedience. Mary was found with child because she was obedient. Joesph took Mary into his home because he was obedient. Joseph named the child Jesus because he was obedient. Later, Scripture says Jesus was obedient to Mary and Joseph. (Lk 2:51) The Holy Family models so much that I desire to imitate, and their example of obedience is no exception.
Whenever I think of obedience to God, I’m reminded of a story about Saul from 1 Samuel 15. Saul was going into battle. Before he went, the Lord gave Saul very clear instructions about how he was to defeat the Amalekites. Saul goes to battle and defeats the Amalekites, but without following the Lord’s full instructions. He only partially obeys and uses his own judgement to amend the remainder of the Lord’s instructions. Part of what Saul decided to do included offering the best of the Amalekites’ sheep and oxen as a sacrifice to God. While Saul’s intentions were seemingly good, God becomes angry. God tells Saul that he will no longer be king because of his disobedience. Saul tries to object, but God says, “to obey is better than sacrifice.” (1 Sam 15:22)
It seems that obedience is most pleasing to God, much more so than any of my good intentions or sacrifices. When judging my own actions, I often fall into the trap of judging my intentions, rather than my objective behavior. Today, I am reminded that my good intentions are not what unites me to Christ, rather, it is my obedience to God’s law and to God’s perfect Will. Today’s Gospel invites me to model myself after the Holy Family and surrender my will to the Will of God in perfect obedience.
Do I attempt to substitute my human reason for God’s law passed through the Church?
Loving Father, thank You for revealing Your law to me through your Church. Please give me the graces I need to live my life according to Your plan and the humility to recognize that Your way is the best way.
Copyright 2017 Mary Swafford
Mary Swafford is a homeschooling mama to six kiddos. She has a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Memphis and a Master of Theological Studies from Ave Maria University’s Institute for Pastoral Theology. Mary is a former youth minister and has been a catechist for fifteen years. Her passion is helping people encounter Christ through His holy Church.
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