Call to Obedience
This was my Sunday Homily based on the Readings: Deut 4:1-8 and Mk 7:1-23. Last Sunday, the 22nd in Ordinary Time occasioned the launching of the National Catechetical Month in the Philippines.
In the Readings, God teaches us to focus on the real things. He gives us an insight on how we can really please Him; how we can honor Him best. We can pick up 3 lessons here:
1. God calls us to Obedience
In the First Reading, God commands the Israelites to follow and to observe the law that He gives them. He calls them to be faithful to it. God orders them! Such an order presupposes God’s moral authority over His people. They, too, have the moral obligation to obey. But in order to be faithful, they ought to listen well. They need to know the law, even study it and commit it to memory. The first requirement of obedience is to be a good listener.
When I was a 2nd year high school, a priest ordered me to do something. I listened to his instruction and pretended to obey. Promptly I obeyed. But having failed to understand what I was to do, I had to come back to my shame to ask for clarification. The priest was upset. And I could not forget what he told me: be smart!
Note that the law gives identity to the Israelites. Through it, they become God’s own – His chosen people, a special people. It makes them a wise and intelligent people. Obedience to God’s law makes us wise. And those who help others know God’s law – among them catechists – share in His beatitude.
2. Obedience brings us closer to God
Obedience establishes a father-child relationship. In this dynamics, it further requires freedom. God wants us to choose him freely and lovingly. That deep in our hearts we consciously say: “Lord, I choose to love your commands.” Because if we obey out of fear, the relationship changes. It now becomes a Master-Slave contract. Love is lost or mitigated. In the history of salvation, two people stand out as most pleasing to God: Abraham and Jesus. Their greatest quality was their total obedience. They surrendered themselves to the divine will completely. Obedience, then, makes us pleasing to God.
3. God wants us to be doers of His Word
Our readings, too, instruct us how to worship God correctly. Jesus stresses in the gospel that we worship him not only with our lips but especially with our hearts. The Jewish “Shema” – the most important prayer service in Judaism recited twice-daily as a mitzvah (religious command) found in Deut 6:4 – includes the command to love God with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength. This constitutes genuine worship. In obeying God’s word, we are to focus on the spirit, not the letter. Focus on the inside – on interiority, not just the appearance. To honor God best, we are to purify our intentions so that we do it not for applause, nor for people to see, nor for publicity or show but for God’s glory.Disclaimer: This section of the website is a personal creative writing of the author and does not necessarily reflect the official views, opinion, or policies of the Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippines South Province. For concerns on the content, style, and grammar of this piece, please contact us.