Sacred Heart of Jesus, Chapel of Mercy Convent, Albany, NY, USA.

Link the image above with this song: “Time After Time”. You can find the lyrics at the foot of this posting. 

Click here to read today’s Sunday Mass Readings.

For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  Galatians 5:14.

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We celebrated the feast of the Sacred Heart last Friday, and perhaps we can link the message of that image to today’s gospel, which contains something of a challenge. The Sacred Heart is one of the strongest symbols of Christ’s love for his Father and for us. His entire life and mission were based on that simple truth: God first, last and always. Anything which detracts from that reality is to be treated as temptation away from the truth, even the burial of your own father as we hear in today’s gospel. These words from today’s gospel are almost always used as an example of Jesus’ “hard sayings” and it is immediately followed by another, similar instruction: Another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” To him Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.” In other words, once your eyes are set on God, there is no looking back. Jesus is talking about total commitment, utter devotion, fixed focus. It is the first step in walking with the Lord, as he exemplified in all of the above. In everything he did, it was for the Father he did it. The ultimate example, of course, was his acceptance of the dreadful fate which awaited him beginning in the Garden of Gethsemane, which put his devotion to God to the ultimate test. But clearly that is not the end of the story – it is the beginning!

At the beginning of every journey, an itinerary has to be created, beginning with the destination from your starting point. Then you figure out the best possible route between the start and the finish, and then what to expect between those two points. For Jesus, the objective of his entire ministry was to obey the will of his Father. That began at his baptism, when he discovered his identity (Son of God) and his vocation (to fulfill all the prophecies concerning the Messiah of God). We were given the exact same identity and vocation at our baptism. As children of God, our objective must be union with God at the end of our time on earth, and to achieve that we must follow the vocation God has given us to the letter! And that’s where today’s gospel takes its place. No looking back, no other obligations other than those to God. That sounds hard, of course: not go to my father’s funeral? Not to say goodbye to my parents? But wait (as they say in commercials), that is by no means the end of the story. Once our allegiance to God has been established, then God’s will takes over, overriding our own, and then the law of love floods in, overwhelming all other considerations. As St. Augustine said, using the quote from last week, love and do anything you want, because everything will be done out of love and no harm or sin can ever come of that. So, then, yes, go to the funeral, go say goodbye, and do all with the love of God flowing through you, making everything you do an expression of what Jesus would do, as you too are a child of God. And with that comes total freedom. It might not be easy, but it will be God’s will and we will be free agents doing it, relying on the power of God within us which can never fail. Even after Jesus died, he triumphed through God’s love and power.

So it is appropriate that, as “Ordinary Time” begins once more, we have the starting point of our Christian existence underlined for us again in today’s gospel: all we say, do and think must be set on God, our acceptance of God’s will, and what then we must do as a consequence. In that way we are truly being and acting as children of God.


Lying in my bed, I hear the clock tick and think of you
Caught up in circles
Confusion is nothing new
Flashback, warm nights
Almost left behind
Suitcase of memories
Time after
Sometimes you picture me
I’m walking too far ahead
You’re calling to me, I can’t hear
What you’ve said
You say, “go slow”
I fall behind
The second hand unwinds
If you’re lost you can look and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall, I will catch you, I’ll be waiting
Time after time
If you’re lost, you can look and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall, I will catch you, I will be waiting
Time after time
After my picture fades and darkness has
Turned to gray
Watching through windows
You’re wondering if I’m okay
Secrets stolen from deep inside
The drum beats out of time

If you’re lost you can look and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you, I’ll be waiting
Time after time
You saId go slow I fall behind
The second hand unwinds
If you’re lost you can look and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you, I’ll be waiting
Time after time after time 
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Cyndi Lauper / Robert Hyman
Time After Time lyrics © Concord Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

Sacred Heart Church, Suffern, NY, USA.

Reflections on next Sunday’s Mass Readings will be posted on Wednesday.