23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

– September 8, 2019

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is teaching us a lesson about what true love means. Have you ever nursed a sick family member or a beloved animal through difficult days and nights? Had to administer medications, hold them, wash them, be with them right through their last breath? Are you raising a child with special needs? Or caring for a spouse with dementia? Then you have a better idea of what Jesus really means here. True love strips it all away. We find ourselves doing things we never imagined we could. Everything else that we used to think important just falls away, doesn’t it? We finally experience detachment from all unnecessary things.

This living for the essentials is the kind of detachment Jesus was calling for in this gospel: not that we become cold and distant, but that we love with such purity and total giving, that none of the non-essentials will hold us back. He calls us to focus on the essential purpose of life, and to detach from everything which prevents us from doing that. We all cling to certain relationships and things. Instead of love, we just have addictions to certain people and possessions.

Mary, Jesus’ mother, was one who took her whole life and made it completely open to the truth; she pondered things in her heart, instead of spouting opinions. Try entering into a conversation in a totally open way—without clinging to your opinions. That means you have to detach yourself from “group think.” Suddenly, you have to really listen to the ideas of the person opposite you. This is the stripping away of self that real love demands.

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….In 2015 Pope Francis,following the footsteps of his predecessor, Pope Benedict VXI, visited the completed Ground Zero Monument in New York on September 25, 2015. Only the sound of flowing water could be heard as the Holy Father laid a white rose on the edge of the reflecting pool. At this symbolic location, Pope Francis held an interreligious meeting, and appealed for all religions to promote peace together. “This place of death became a place of life too” he said. It is “a hymn to the triumph of life over the prophets of destruction and death, to goodness over evil, to reconciliation and unity over hatred and division.”

Joyfully in the Lord,



Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish
Belmar, NJ

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