Taking the Gospel "seriously"?


#1

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

How many of us truly listen to God’s Holy Word in the Scriptures, especially in hearing the Gospels spoken to us at Sunday Mass? Today’s Gospel invites us to listen and to hear our need to have the humility of a little child. Listen, please to Jesus:

…“If anyone wishes to be first,
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
Taking a child, he placed it in their midst,
and putting his arms around it, he said to them,
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me;
and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me.”

Do we take Jesus seriously? Do we spend time asking Him for the grace to “receive Him” and realize by grace, we are welcoming the One who sent Him? The spirit of the world does not receive children, nor does it value true humility, because’s the spirit of the world loves "self"and ignores God.

I would be grateful to hear your thoughts on today’s Gospel, and your desire to listen to God speaking to us in His Revealed Word of Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church. Thanks.


#2

Ever since I realised that everything behind the Gospels is true I have read them rather differently I can assure you.

For example Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

This is so in my experience, if your belief is wanting simply ask and gradually it will be strengthened.
I think our mission is to overcome the ‘spirit of the world’ as you say, and remember that Jesus is in the beggar, the sick and the lame…and if we ask…in us too!

At the beginning of your quoted reading it is also pointing out that the role of the shepherd is to lead his flock to safety, he therefore serves all of his flock as a leader and once he has seen to their safety he follows behind to close the gate. As often is the case there are multiple aspects of great interest.


#3

You pose three crucial questions. The answers are ‘not many’, ‘no’ and ‘no’.


#4

By “we” do you mean the people on this forum, or Catholics in general?

It seems like every day priests and bishops in their homilies are pointing out some part of the Gospel and suggesting that their listening congregation falls far short of doing whatever it is. Now on the one hand, we are all sinners, and whatever we are doing there is always room for improvement. In addition, there are likely people in the congregation who have specific failings relevant to the particular point discussed on a given day.

On the other hand, when one has an audience of dedicated Catholics who read CAF or are taking the time to attend a non-obligatory daily Mass, one can presume that they are all at least taking Jesus’ words seriously and trying to live by them, even if not perfect in doing so.


#5

Prior to the words on opposition and greatness. We see crowds following Jesus, they have experienced his presence and know him to be more powerful than anyone who has gone before. God asks us to invite Jesus into our hearts so as to experience salvation. We will see as Jesus journey goes onward, the resistance of many and the denial of the truth leading to his death. This did not cease on the cross and the invitation to all is still an optional one and in reality there are those that choose self.


#6

Dear Lee,

Thanks so much for your reply. Yes, the Gospels are true – They are the inspired Word of God as is all of Scripture, and hence, we need to take them very seriously – because we need to take God very seriously.

In Isaiah chapter 66: 1-2, we hear:

Thus says the LORD: The heavens are my throne, the earth, my footstool. What house can you build for me? Where is the place of my rest? My hand made all these things
when all of them came to be – oracle of the LORD.

This is the one whom I approve: the afflicted one, crushed in spirit,
who trembles at my word.

Chapter 7 in Matthew which you quoted is one I’ve pondered many times. Yes, I agree it is very important – perhaps even more urgent in our day, it seems to me, – to ask God for His Truth in our lives, when there is so much lying and acceptance of lies that Truth is hard to discern.

The verses in Matthew 7, however, that give me reason to “tremble” are these:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’ (Mt. 7: 21 -23)

If we are to follow Christ, then we need to keep listening, in order to know Him Who is Truth. We need to pray to the Holy Spirit, in order to hear the Truth which Jesus promised the Spirit would bring us into (cf Jn 16:13). Yes, Jesus is the Good Shepherd and the sheep who hear His Voice follow Him. Thanks again for your reply.


#7

I agree that these words would be terrible to hear. That’s why it is important to serve God humbly without thought to self, to try to do His will and not ours, I’m sure if we defer to God always then we will be following the right path to heaven and He will show us mercy.


#8

Dear sonofbarry,

Thanks for your brief reply. :slight_smile: I’m not sure if any of us can answer for the “we” of the Catholic Church. I asked for the thoughts of those on CAF because there seem to be many on this Forum and in the Church whose words seem to indicate they either have not really thought about the Word of God proclaimed at Mass or ???

Please understand, I am not juding their hearts, only God can judge the heart of any of us; but in listening to conversations and seeing choices made by some, I would say with you that “not many” take the Gospel seriously. How many for instance take the words of today’s Gospel and ask themselves “Do I receive Jesus in each child of God?”

As to the amount of time “we” spend - perhaps that can only be answered for ourselves - but as members of the Body of Christ by Baptism, hopefully some do realize their need to spend time pondering God’s Word as Mary did in her heart, because if not, God’s Word is not important to at least “part of the Body” and so we are all the weaker for those who do not hear Him.

The same can be said for welcoming the indwelling Trinity – If we have no sense of an interior life of Grace, the Body of Christ suffers that lack. Much to ponder. Thanks again for your reply.


#9

Dear Tis_Bearself,

The “we” includes both people on the forum as well as Catholics in General. Thanks for your question and your reply. Perhaps our experiences are different, dear sister in Christ. You may be be blessed with good teachers in the pulpit and good listeners in the pews.

There are good Bishops and good Priests, and there are good Laity, but looking at the crisis in the Church, we need to admit there are needs for much soul-searching among us. As I just wrote in another reply, I cannot, nor do I ever want to begin judging anyone’s heart – I know only God can judge my heart or any heart He created. My purpose in asking the questions was to speak to my brothers and sisters because we are members of one another, and we are either building one another up by speaking the Truth lovingly or we are not. (cf Eph 4)

WE are ALL called to holiness in the perfection of Charity and not called to mediocrity. God looks at the desire of our hearts – and He alone knows if we are among the lukewarm or not. Let us continue to pray for one another and for all in need – as Our Lady taught the little shepherd children: "O my Jesus, pardon us and save us from the fires of hell. Draw all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of God’s Mercy.

Thanks again for your reply.


#10

I’m a pretty good listener - when concerning religion.
In the world, I’m a very select listener - because it’s such a chaos of lies.
My finest personal moments at mass -
is when I feel like a child - in the presence of God.
It brings awareness - of top notch quality.
In someways, mass, can feel like a elementary school gathering - a class of fellow kids.
There’s that natural humbleness - sweetness -
when in the presence of our mighty Divine Father !
And our venerable - Virgin Mary - mother.


#11

So, how do I serve others? I hope that I am mindful every moment of the opportunities to serve with kindness even in the smallest ways.


#12

I once told my priest, “it is amazing how we put more faith in a fortune cookie reading than our readings at mass.” Do we listen when the lord speaks to us, but no, today they call you insane if you are such a believer!

So it is acceptable to put faith in a fortune or a wishing well, and I have prayed about wishing wells that Saints intercede for my wrongdoing. To also aid me in my intentions instead, so that my future doings are in gods mercy and love. But never to forget to also bless my neighbors who sin as I do for we are all sinners in need of mercy and grace.


#13

Dear hergratefulchild,

Thanks for your reply. Yes, the crowds followed Jesus, but they – like we – face the choice of whom to serve. We cannot serve two Masters as Jesus told them and us. We need to choose between life in Jesus or death without Him.

By God’s Grace may we continue to ask, and receive Him; to seek and find Him, to knock that the Door open and we embrace Him as our Way, our Truth and our Life.


#14

Dear Shakuhachi,

Thanks for your reply. In order to be a true servant, we need to Listen to Jesus and ponder His words, as Mary our Mother did:

…“If anyone wishes to be first,
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
Taking a child, he placed it in their midst,
and putting his arms around it, he said to them,
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me;
and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me.”

Mary pondered all Jesus said and did. It is good for all of us to keep listening until we come to know Him by recognizing Him in all His Children and receiving Him in all.


#15

Dear Seagull,

Thanks for your reply. May God continue to give us all His Grace to be humble as a child, wise as a serpent and guileless as a dove.


#16

Dear CatholicSpirit,

Thanks for your reply. No matter what others may choose to put their faith in, we are resposible for our choices, and we need to ask God to guide us to find our true happiness in Him. St. Augustine wrote truly, our hearts are restless, until they rest in God.

Jesus wept over the City of Jerusalem, whom He had sought to gather as a hen gathers her chicks but they would not. Let that not be what He sees in us. Our free will is given to us that we may choose to love Him who loved us first and to love others for His sake, and to find in Him All we need.

Jesus taught us, “When you pray say: Our Father, Who are in heaven…” The Lord’s Prayer is the perfect prayer. Please let us pray for one another, for the Church and for all those in most need of God’s Mercy.


#17

Indeed MariaChristi, all are in need of prayer. Of that I am certain. The placing of faith in a fortune cookie or a wishing well can be better distributed to the Lord. Especially when his word is reaching us on a Sunday morning or afternoon.

Faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains… perhaps if the mustard seed is larger than a coin being placed in a wishing well or a piece of fortune paper…


#18

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