It is 20th August 2018. We celebrate the memorial of St Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church. The readings are from Ezekiel 24:15-24; and the Gospel from Matthew 19:16-22. God is not impressed by the minimum and expecting us to go beyond just following the commandments. When we have sinned against and forgotten God, we realise that we have not done enough for God and so we offer something to please God. Indeed, we are not pleasing God just by a small offertory or a little adherence of law here and there. Most of the times, we are trying to pacify our consciences and souls assuring ourselves that we are doing the most and better than the other. But God expects us to give more of ourselves sacrificing the things we love most. God is looking for a new culture of giving ourselves. In the first reading, God prepares God’s people to face the inevitable loss, grief and the destruction. God knows us what we go through in our lives and all that we are expected to face. Some of us are facing the loss, or going through pain or grief or losing the pride of our family. Yet God wants us to face it never to run away from it with our faith in God. Ezekiel faces the loss and grief of his wife and God demanded a commitment of putting the national grief and sorrow at first and to hold his personal grief to himself. In our human understanding, it might look so cruel and inhuman but God expects some kind of sacrifice from the one God has chosen and called. Keeping the interest of the society, the nation and the other is a new norm and a new culture God demands. No nation, a society or a community go through any inconvenience due to personal indulgence and grief. The responsorial Verse reminds us, “You forget the God who fathered you.” (Duet.32:18). The Gospel clarifies between the generosity and the obligation. Some of us are up to the mark when it comes for obligatory things to be fulfilled but we all lack a generosity of heart towards God just like that of the young man in the Gospel. Even if we follow all the commandments, Jesus demands charity and some form of sacrifice on our part. Jesus will not be impressed by mere following of commandment. Jesus wants us to leave everything for the sake of the kingdom of God. It is the complete obedience to Christ that pleases God. Yet, without following the commandments, we cannot form our consciences and voices to be charitable. Let us not be confined to the basics and peripheral rather let us move in to the core. May you have a good day. God bless you.

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