Choosing our attitude

Homily for March 7, Monday of the IX week in Ordinary Time, year I Click the “play” button above to listen, or click here to download the MP3 audio file.

There are two fundamental attitudes to life; two ways of living, which a well-known author compared to rival cities. He wrote, “two cities have been formed by two loves: the earthly cit by the love of self, even to the contempt of God; the heavenly by the love of God, even to the contempt of self. The former, in a word, glories in itself, the latter in the Lord. For the one seeks glory from men; but the greatest glory of the other is God, the witness of conscience. The one lifts up its head in its own glory; the other says to its God, “You are my glory, and the one who lifts up my head.”

These words from St Augustine’s “City of God” are a key for interpreting today’s readings. Tobit is a great example of a citizen of the heavenly city. He values God’s law and the works of mercy more than his own well-being; he is willing to risk his life to do what is right, against the will of the pagan civil authorities. The parable that Jesus tells in the Gospel today illustrates the opposite approach. The tenant farmers of the vineyard – representing the religious authorities who rejected Christ – are willing to kill the son of the owner of the vineyard in an attempt to usurp his possessions and authority.

Each one of us chooses which attitude to adopt. In little ways, we make this decision every day. Each time we choose to be selfish and give in to our sinful tendencies, we align ourselves with those who rebel against God, and each time we opt to act with charity and self-sacrifice, we become more like the citizens of the city of God.

We are free to choose what we will, but of course, which option we choose is not without consequences. Jesus warns the chief priests, scribes and elders that they will lose everything if they reject Him. By the same token, the Psalm promises that “the man who fears the Lord” and “greatly delights in His commands” will be blessed for all eternity.

The choice is clear enough when we are sitting in Church hearing the Scripture, but it becomes a lot harder when we are living our daily life and feel the strength of temptation. Let us turn to God and ask Him for the insight to know what is right, and for the love and willpower to seek our joy and our glory only in God, Who knows and sees the motivations and desires of our hearts.

About Matthew Green

I am a translator, origami artist/teacher, and photographer, a blogger, former philosophy professor, and I love to sing. You can see my photos on Flickr and buy prints of some of them on Fine Art America. You can find me on Instagram, Twitter (@mehjg), and in various and sundry other social media sites on the web.
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