Monday, August 31, 2015

1 Thes 4:13-18, Psalm 96: 1, 3-5, 11-13, Luke 4:16-30


1 Thes 4:13-18, Psalm 96: 1, 3-5, 11-13, Luke 4:16-30

1 Thes 4:13-18

My Beloved, St. Paul was not of the twelve that You handpicked but after his conversion he spent a great deal of time with those who knew You, lived with You, walked with You and broke bread with You. They were Your closest friends and companions for three years – they heard all You spoke, preached and taught. They were Your disciples and witnessed all the miracles You performed and St. Paul heard it all.

In these verses he speaks about death and Your coming again in glory. He tells us not to grieve inconsolably when a loved one is taken from us because we have hope in a hereafter. Death is not the end of our life’s journey but an entrance into a new one. In the parable of the workers whom the owner of the vineyard called at different times in the day You tell us that those who were hired first will be paid first. Similarly, St. Paul says that those who have died first will be the first to rise from the dead when the Archangel calls and the divine trumpet is sounded. Then those who are alive will join them to meet You in the clouds. Only those who know You, labored in Your vineyard no matter the day or the hour and have died in You will be brought together by God in You, His Son and for Your sake. The rest will be left to the sweet and tender mercy of a loving and just God.

This is our hope, our comfort, our peace and our joy. Death is not the end of the story but the beginning of a glorious new one in You.

Psalm 96: 1, 3-5, 11-13

My Beloved, the psalmist reminds us that we were created for You alone. This is Good News that we belong to You. New songs of praise and thanksgiving are written in every age and by every generation extolling Your goodness, Your great love for us who are so undeserving of a Savior such as Yourself. We are not saved because we have earned it but rather on the merit that You won for us and the cost of Your own life. How truly worthy You are my Beloved of praise.

All we need to is lift our eyes to the sky, the trees, the hills  and the world around us to see how good and gracious God is to us always. Nature is constantly rejoicing in You my Beloved, exulting in being created to give You glory we can do well to imitate creation in praising You and allowing You to help us to be what God has meant us to be.

Luke 4:16-30

My Beloved, the people in Your hometown Nazareth thought they knew You. They watched You grow up before their eyes they watched You as You helped St. Joseph labor in his carpentry shop, they watched You run errands for Mary, Your Mother. You played with the children and Your thirty hidden years in Nazareth were as ordinary as their own. Now they see the Man who left home and of whom they have heard so much especially the miracles. The synagogue is full that Sabbath You picked up the scroll knowing exactly which passage You wanted to read from Isaiah Your presence was commanding, their eyes were riveted to You – familiar and yet so different. Your voice is beautiful, mellifluous and they are touched deeply. After reading the well known verses that they have heard so often they watch as You roll up the scroll, hand it to the attendant, sit down and say, “Today these prophetic words come true even as you listen.” The next verses tell us that they all agreed with You and were lost in wonder as You spoke to them about the grace of God.

Yet, there will always be skeptics. Those who refuse to believe the truth because of some preconceived ideas and notions that are stuck in their memories like barnacles refusing to be shaken off. They wanted proof and the only acceptable proof they said was for You to perform some miracles. You never performed a miracle in order to gain popularity or recognition but to alleviate human suffering or as sign to show that You had authority over the whole human person and of nature.  You reminded them of their history where God worked miracles for those who were not among the chosen  people of God as a sign that salvation is for all.

The people were furious and wanted to kill You. Truth stood before them but there is always opposition and hostility to the enemies of Truth.

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