How long, O Lord? Is this not a question most of us have asked countless times? It’s a question we ask when we’re weary or questioning how to keep the faith when we have lost the vision. Even the apostles who were with Jesus pleaded for increased faith. Jesus responded that real faith takes the form of service.
Sometimes our readings are full of good news; sometimes they abound in hard warnings. Today we are warned that we need to be attentive to the opportunities around us to serve others. It’s easy to postpone for another day the steps we need to take. Trusting in God’s ultimate mercy is only half the story. Today may be the only time we have to respond.
We so often find ourselves confronted with conflicting values and demands. Today we ponder how to balance our call to discipleship with our culture’s call to accumulate wealth and material things. We hear that God is aware of both greed and the needs of the poor. Discipleship challenges us to be prudent, wise, focused and balanced in our interaction with money. It’s not easy. Keeping our eyes on the final prize is what really matters.
Who would not be interested in accepting God’s endless mercy? Today’s readings remind us that not everyone responds in the same way to what is offered. Living the Gospel is a joy and a privilege, with ultimate rich rewards. But we know there is no guarantee of a smooth journey. The discipline required may not be for everyone — even those we love. All we can do is embrace the invitation issued to us and pray that countless others will join us in discipleship when they are ready.
The riches of this passing world pale in comparison to the heavenly inheritance that awaits us in the kingdom of God. As we gather this day to celebrate these sacred mysteries, let us ask the Lord’s abundant mercy for the times we have failed to love God above all else.
Prayer has been a key component of faith for thousands of years. While prayer can be uniquely personal, today’s readings provide some essential and expansive insights about it from both Judaism and early Christianity. Abraham and Jesus both extol the importance of persistence, and Jesus teaches us that prayer at its best is communal. We pray as one body of God’s people. Most profoundly, we dare to pray at all because God is loving and just.
God’s presence is at the heart of our faith and our life as Christians, and today’s readings describe others’ responses to this presence. Openness to unexpected people or events and a willingness to believe are required for us to be changed by our experience. We might listen, wonder, serve, celebrate or share this with others. What really matters is believing that God will enter our lives — and that we will never be the same.
Figuring out how to live in faith can sometimes create a confusion of copious rules, regulations, practices and prohibitions. The reality, however, is a rather simple “heart and soul” thing. Loving and responding to God cannot happen apart from loving one’s neighbor with deep compassion. Today’s Gospel reminds us that the neighbor might not be the one we would choose to love. The good Samaritan story is a cautionary tale that catches our attention for good reason.
Journeys dominate today’s readings — from the return of the exiled to a destroyed Jerusalem, to the disciples set out to preach the Gospel to the world. Both will be fraught with peril, hardship, and pain. Even Paul’s missionary work is centered on Christ’s crucifixion. We, too, are called to be people moving into the world to live the Gospel. Like our ancestors, we rely on love, peace, and mercy to sustain us.
Bread and wine were an ancient component of Israel’s ritual history. Jesus infused their sharing with new meaning that has sustained the Church to this day. When we regularly participate in the Eucharist, we can become immune to its unifying power for the whole world. This annual feast reminds us that Holy Mass is our central liturgical act as Christians. Unity is deeply needed more than ever, and the source of that unity is literally in ourselves when we receive the Body and the Blood of Christ
We acknowledge the mystery of the Trinity every time we make the sign of the cross. Today, let us consider what this mystery means to us as believers in a complex world, with our many tasks, duties, struggles and relationships. Let us pray to our Creator Father, the Redeemer Son and Brother, and the Holy Spirit.
The early Christian community knew that Jesus and the life-giving Spirit were with them. That conviction sustained and empowered them to deal with unimaginable challenges. We are given the same presence, peace, and forgiveness when we come together, and we are called today to pass that on to others. What signs of this presence do we experience? How do we express it to others?
Copyright © 2019 Eastern Diocese Of the Polish National Catholic Church - All Rights Reserved.