GOD NEVER MEANT US TO EXPERIENCE THE RETRIBUTION BUT TO WIN SALVATION
(TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 03, 2019
The Memorial of St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church)
In the first reading today, St. Paul brought to limelight an undeniable truth that stares on us every day about the reality of death. St. made it clear Paul to the community of Christians at Thessalonica and to us the children of the 21st century that, “the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” We definitely do not know the day or the hour when a person will pass on to the Lord; there’s no need predicting that event. We all know with certainty that we will die; that death is the ultimate act of our lives. It is certain, but yet it remains an unsolvable mystery: we do not know the when or the how of our death; we only know that it will occur. In fact, death is a reality and a necessary end that will come when it will come as Shakespeare puts it. If it is a necessary end that awaits everybody, how do we go about it?
St. Paul in this first reading also provided us with an attitude concerning this reality of death. He says “But brothers and sisters, it is not as if you live in the dark, for that day to overtake you like a thief. For all of you are children of the light and children of the day. We are not of the night or of darkness. Therefore, we should not go on sleeping as everyone else does but stay wide awake and sober”. These words of Paul are meant to keep us at an alert and not just empty alert but alertness that goes with doing the will of God so that when death visits at any time, we will have nothing to lose or regret because, God did not destine us for wrath, but to gain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live together with Him. We need to be conscious and be living each day fully as a gift of God. We should also realize that even our ordinary, every-day actions are important in the eyes of God. The time to think about our earthly end and our own death is now not at the funeral mass or at the death of someone.
The consciousness of this reality will as well help us to put things alright when the grace of God is still flowing around us. While the first reading, in the beginning, can feel frightening, in the end, it is quite a reassuring message about how our faith and trust in God will carry us through our life’s challenges. The reading is also a reminder of our need to support others who may be questioning their faith, or are acting or discerning out of fear with so many uncertainties that exist in life. “Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, as indeed you do already say, Paul.”
If “The Lord is our light and my salvation” truly “Whom or what should we fear?”
The Psalm today is such a reassuring message that God wants us to embrace the goodness of life and our own unique gifts, which, when given an opportunity, we should not shy away from sharing with others. “To dwell in the house of the Lord… and contemplate His temple” gave us an overwhelming sense of peace knowing that we can trust the guidance which God has provided for us throughout our life thus far, and will continue to provide for us.
“A great prophet has arisen in our midst and God has visited His people through Jesus Christ.” Jesus was not one of the established Jewish Authority figures nor a part of the Jewish Leadership team and no doubt, many were confused and possibly even frightened by his parables and “new ways of thinking.”
Following the Gospel lessons can also be challenging to us but we must remember and be assured that God, through Christ examples and words, will be our guide in how we relate to and love others- even those that seem to possess an unclean demon. God seems to be encouraging us, giving us an invitation to “pay attention” to what moves our hearts, whose words we are drawn to and feel we can trust.
The truth about the gospel of today is that when we truly accept Christ with faith in our lives, He begins to perform wonders and marvel in our lives.
The gospel of today is a sharp contrast to that of yesterday. Jesus went to His home country yesterday, He was rejected because they knew His background and this lack of faith exhibited by His people drove Christ to other places.
One of those places is what heard today in the gospel. St. Luke has it that “Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee. He taught them on the Sabbath, and they were astonished at His teaching because He spoke with authority”. This deep impression the teaching of Christ made to the people of Capernaum even moved a man with an unclean spirit to speak well of Christ saying “I know who you are–the Holy One of God!”
That which His own people couldn’t see in Christ is what an unclean spirit saw, recognized and spoke about. What about us? Does the teaching of Christ still make a deep impression in us? Do we play down on the word of God simply because we hear it almost every time? Let us always exercise our faith in the word of God because it strengthens us in our Christian journey.
Let Us Pray: Lord Jesus give me grace to accept you and to love my life for you and to your glory. Amen