God loves every person and desires our love in return – for Him and for our neighbor
Reflections on the readings for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 16, 2020): IS 56:1,6-7; PS 67:2-3,5,6,8; ROM 11:13-15,29-32; MT 15:21-28
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days
This Sunday’s Scripture readings expect us to recognize and welcome God’s call to all people. No one who seeks to be and to do what He wants is excluded from His mercy. In the first reading, the people of Israel have finally returned to Jerusalem after their long captivity in Babylon. There are many foreigners living among them and Isaiah wants them to be welcomed. The prophet tells them that God is open to all who honor the Sabbath and keep the Covenant. “Thus says the Lord: Observe what is right, do what is just; for My salvation is about to come, My justice about to be revealed.… For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples” (Isaiah 56:1, 7). Likewise, St. Paul lets the Romans know that the Good News of Christ is for both Jews and Gentiles. Everyone is called to salvation through Jesus, the Son of God.
In truth, all people have sinned against God, so all of us are in need of His mercy. If we accept His love and reciprocate it, we are deeply beloved by Him. But we must remember that we cannot love God without loving one another as ourselves. Saying we believe in Christ our Redeemer is not enough if we do not really follow His way of love. If we refuse to love any one for any reason, we are not living according to the will of Almighty God. He invites each one of us to His eternal banquet, but only if we prepare ourselves now by respecting the dignity of all and seeing Christ in the face of every person. We reveal our true belief in Him through our attitudes, words and actions.
Suggested missionary action: Let us remember that Christ calls people of all nations and backgrounds to Himself and that He wants us to love and value one another. Let us also pray for missionaries and commit ourselves to assisting their efforts through prayer and material support