To walk the walk

| Deacon Alvaro Perez Silva | September 25, 2014 | 0 Comments

Forest autumn landscapeWho doesn’t love getting a new cell phone? The constantly-upgraded features are just amazing — bigger screens, adaptable displays, new gadgets and so forth. The more the better, right? Why is that? Because the more options and improvements we have, the better able we are to customize our phone and set it up just the way we like it. Well, at least until a new phone comes out, and we realize that even more options are possible. The phenomenon of the new cell phone reveals something about human nature. It reveals our desire for options — to have things our way, at our pace and in our time. It speaks of the value of free will and choice.

Our readings for Sept. 28 direct our attention toward free will and choice. God sets a path for us, and we are free to follow it or not. God gave us free will because we need it to be able to truly love his will and follow it in a genuine way — not because we are obliged to follow it or because it benefits us, but out of love for God, because we recognize that he directs our lives as a loving father.

This is great news! I am free — free to choose whatever I like. Well, not really. We can desire many things, but as rational creatures we are called to use our whole being to find out what God wants from us, “so that [we] may discern what is the will of God — what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). Our freedom carries with it a responsibility because it is a gift from God. Our free will gives us the capacity to act with integrity (holistically) as rational beings. We can do great things with our free will. We can direct our choices for the good of others, and ultimately, we achieve salvation with those small but significant decisions we make each day. As the first reading reminds us, “He shall surely live, he shall not die.”

In the Gospel reading, we see two brothers who say one thing, but do something different. God praises the one who changes his mind and obeys. It is not enough to speak the truth; we must act on it. St. James reminds us of this when he exhorts us to “be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves” (James 1:22). A true Christian is a mix of both brothers. He not only talks the talk, but also walks the walk. Our discipleship becomes real when we conform our lives to the life of Christ. It is not founded in delivering grandiose speeches. After all, Christ’s purpose in life was to obey the Father. He offers us the perfect example of an authentic and integrated life — he talked the talk and walked the walk. As he said, “I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me” (John 6:38).

Deacon Perez Silva, PES, is in formation for the priesthood for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. His teaching parish is St. Mark in St. Paul. His religious community is Pro Ecclesia Sancta.


Sunday, Sept. 28

Twenty-sixth Sunday in ordinary time

Readings

  • Ezekiel 18:25-28
  • Philippians 2:1-11
  • Matthew 21:28-32

Reflection

In our daily lives, it’s important to speak the truth. But how do we go further and act as true Christians should?

 

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Category: Sunday Scriptures