In the Reading for the Feast of Saint Andrew, St. Paul testifies to God’s generosity. God’s life is available to anyone who professes faith in Christ. God has no favorites. “There is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, enriching all who call upon him” (Romans 10:12). I struggle to comprehend how God lavishes love on all without distinction. I tend to love those who love me back. God loves each and everyone one of us no matter. I pray to do the same. How do you love people you don’t like?
In the Gospel for Thursday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time, Jesus tells his disciples about the end times. People will see “signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars … And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:25a,27). We still wait for the coming of the Son of Man. We look forward to Jesus’ return. I have faith in the Risen Lord. I await his return with hopeful expectation. Then God’s reign of peace and justice is completed. In the meantime, I live in God’s love. With Christ’s help I give of myself as God has so generously shared divine life with me. So at the end I can stand together with the Church to welcome him back. What difference does Christ’s promised return make in your life?
In the Psalm for Tuesday of the Thirty-fourth Weed in Ordinary Time, the Psalmist rejoices in God’s reign over all the earth. Everyone give thanks for God’s justice and mercy. “He shall rule the world with justice and the peoples with his constancy” (Psalm 96: 13b). The Psalmist invites us to trust in God who is in charge. We can trust our God who desires the best for all of us and who faithfully loves us. How much trust do you have in God’s justice and mercy?
John recounts his vision of the heavenly throne room in the Reading for the Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. “A throne was there in heaven, and on the throne sat one whose appearance sparkled like jasper and carnelian” (Revelation 4: 2-3). In this initial vision in the Book of Revelation, John has a profound encounter with God. He describes it in a spectacular way. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we catch glimpses of God. We encounter God in simple and profound ways. We see God in ordinary ways- the smile of a friend, the kindness of a stranger- and in spectacular ways- the face of a newborn baby, a beautiful sunset. Where do you see God?
Jesus heals a blind beggar in the Gospel for Monday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time. “Jesus told him, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.” He immediately received his sight and followed him, giving glory to God” (Luke 18: 42-43b). Even if not physically blind, we can still be spiritually blind. Envy, fear, hatred, worry, greed, violence and other spiritual ailments prevent us from seeing our way to love God and others. Jesus wants to heal us. Follow the beggar’s example and ask. From what blindness do you want healed?
John admonishes his community to love one another in the Reading for Friday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time. “Let us love one another. For this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, as you heard from the beginning, in which you should walk” (2 John v. 6). John writes that true love is following God’s will. God’s love for us is the measure of our love for others. Authentic Christian love promotes the fullness of life (physical, spiritual, emotional, psychological) and the well being of the community. In what ways do you love others as God loves them?
In the Gospel for the Memorial of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, Jesus compares his disciples to house servants. A disciple fulfills his obligations to God as a servant to a boss. Jesus obligates his disciples then and now to love others selflessly. We love others selflessly for Jesus’ sake, not our own. We do not love others on our own merit. We love others because God has loved us first in Christ Jesus. When we love, “we have done what we were obliged to do” (Luke 17:10) by God’s grace. Love begets love. Whom are you obliged to love today?
The Psalmist prays to see God’s face in the Psalm for the Memorial of Saint Josaphat. “Such is the company of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob” (Psalm 24:6 NRSV). Spiritual seekers yearn for an encounter with the divine. Christians see the face of God in Christ. As members of the Body of Christ, we reflect the face of Christ for others. To meet God, we need look no further than into the faces of our families, friends, co-workers, and those in need. How do others recognize the face of Christ in you?
In the Second Reading for the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome, St. Paul reminds the Christian community of Corinth that they are the Temple of God. “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3: 16). They are God’s temple; they are holy. God dwells in the Christian community, and by extension to every member of the community, as he dwells in the Temple of Jerusalem. As God makes the Jerusalem Temple holy by his presence, so too he makes the community holy by the presence of the Spirit of Christ. Every Christian by virtue of Baptism is holy. The Spirit of God dwells in our hearts. It is hard to believe. Who are we that God should love us so much? Yet God is as close to me as my heartbeat. I am holy; we are holy. We must live as children of God, loving ourselves and others as God loves us. What difference does God’s in-dwelling Spirit make in your life?
Jesus tells the parable of the lost coin in the Gospel for Thursday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time. Jesus pictures a woman searching for some lost money. She is overjoyed to find it. Think about how happy you are to find lost keys! Then Jesus compares the woman to God searching for the spiritually lost and alienated. God is overjoyed for those who find their way back to him. This story bolsters my confidence in a God who loves me, failures and all, even more incredibly than I can imagine. Why is God rejoicing for you?