Friday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time, September 27
God Truly Is Our Dearest and Most Intimate Friend and Merciful Father, Who Truly Loves Us Beyond Anything Our Human Minds Could Ever Possibly Imagine.
How strongly do we embrace our faith? How deeply do we turn to our God, not only in the difficult times and the crosses we bear, but also in those times when everything seems right and the heart is filled with joy? – questions which give us pause to think about this most wondrous gift of faith which we have freely received, and how we live this gift in our day-to-day lives!
In our First Reading today, God says to the Israelites, “…do not fear!” And our psalmist, in today’s Responsorial, sings out, “Hope in God…”
And then Jesus asks the question today which cuts to the very heart of this gift which we have been freely given, “…who do you say that I am?”
I have mentioned this in the past, but I am sure that each one of us who is reading this, and who is of age, has faced one or more trials in our lifetime – trials which have taxed our patience, trials which have tried our love, maybe even trials which have tested our faith in God!
Each of us is on a unique journey, laid out just for us – as the old adage goes, “from the womb to the tomb.”
Each of our journeys is different. Each is unique. Each is special. However, no matter from where our individual paths may originate, prayerfully they will all end up at the same destination – God’s Eternal Home.
And in our respective journeys, I am sure that we have each experienced peaks of wonderful happiness as well as valleys of great sadness or despair. I am sure that some of us may have also heard, at one time or another, that life can be like a roller coaster, where we have our tremendous highs as well as our horrendous lows.
As we continue our pilgrimage through this life, as we journey on this roller coaster of sorts through this vale of tears, we sometimes find ourselves tested. And when we are at our lowest, when we are at our weakest, I am sure that we sometimes ask the question, “How strong is my faith? How strong is my belief in the merciful and consoling Love of Jesus Christ?”
What helps strengthen us on these various journeys, which you and I travel, is the love for those whom we hold dear to our hearts, and the love which they return to us – all which fills our very being with a consoling happiness –
– and also the faith which we profess in the God and our love for the One who created us and loves each of us beyond all measure of human understanding! It is His very Presence in our hearts and souls which strengthens us during the many trials and tribulations which we face throughout our lifetime, especially the difficulties which many are facing in today’s world.
It is this faith in our God which gives us hope, especially when we find ourselves, at times, traveling through a very deep and dark valley – a valley which oftentimes seems filled with endless tears, a valley in which we sometimes ask the question, “Where is God in the midst of my sadness and suffering?”
God is ALWAYS with us, and it is this hope in the God who loves us which becomes the guiding force behind our proclaiming the words which Peter himself proclaims in today’s Gospel, answering our Lord’s question, “…who do you say that I am?” And we cry out from the very depths of our being, “The Christ of God”!
Even in Peter’s proclamation, he only partially understood what Jesus being the Messiah truly meant. He had no concept of the suffering which our Lord must endure. And even though Peter was a rather outspoken individual, not afraid to say what was on his mind, he, together with the rest of the Apostles, still had a long way to go regarding their own journey of faith.
We have the benefit of all those who have gone before us – the Apostles, the disciples, the martyrs, and all the saints who followed. In the proclamation which we make regarding our own walk of faith, we, too, are disciples of Jesus Christ, not without hope, not filled with baseless or irrational fear.
Rather, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we profess, even in the midst of the crosses which we, at times, bear – that we are children of God the Father, brothers and sisters of Christ Jesus, and co-heirs of God’s Heavenly Kingdom! We proudly acknowledge our faith, even in a world and in a culture which wishes to deny all that the Church has taught for almost two thousand years.
And what the Church and the Scriptures teach is this – that the Eternal Father sent to the world a Savior, His own Son, to take upon Himself our flesh, to experience all that we experience except sin, who would teach us about the profound wonder of God’s unfathomable Love which He holds for each one of us, His children – a Love which is unconditional, freely offered and freely given!
And Jesus teaches us that we are to love God in return with our entire heart and soul and with all our strength. And that we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
Receiving love and giving love is an act which fills us with joy! And in this joy, we begin to realize and find our lasting hope – an enduring faith in the promises which God has made to His children, a belief in God’s never-ending Mercy and His providential Love for each and every one of us, even in the midst of a world which is slowly becoming overwhelmed with a great darkness.
When Jesus reached out to those who were sick, and to those who were marginalized and forsaken by a society which looked condescendingly on the poor, the lonely, the sick and the illiterate, when Jesus prayed for them and laid His hands upon them, healing them and forgiving them, He filled their hearts with a hope which they had never before experienced, for they felt within themselves the Merciful Love of God!
What joy must have filled their hearts!
And in His Love, He lays those same hands of His upon each of us – blessing us and healing us in ways known only to God.
How strong is our faith in Jesus Christ? It is as strong as the love which fills our hearts for the God who has never abandoned us amidst the many trials and tribulations which we experience in life, no matter how deep the valley may appear before us.
And it was Saint Faustina, God’s chosen “Apostle of Divine Mercy”, experiencing her own trials and anxieties in life, who wrote in her Diary, “When great sufferings will cause my nature to tremble, and my physical and spiritual strength will diminish, then will I hide myself deep in the open wound of the Heart of Jesus, silent as a dove, without complaint” (Diary, 957).
In thanksgiving for this gift of faith and the Infinite Love which God has for each of us, let us always pray, from the very depths of our hearts, the words of our psalmist today, “For you, O God, are my strength…my savior and my God.”
For He truly IS our dearest and most intimate Friend and Merciful Father who truly loves us beyond anything our human minds could ever possibly imagine! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “For I am with you, says the LORD of hosts…My spirit remains in your midst; do not fear!” (Haggai 2:4d, 5b)
- “My soul rests in God alone, from whom comes my salvation…My soul, be at rest in God alone, from whom comes my hope…Trust God at all times, O my people! Pour out your hearts to God our refuge!” (Psalm 62:2, 6, 9)
- “Then [Jesus] said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said in reply, “The Christ of God.” (Luke 9:20)
- “You shall be my people, and I will be your God.” (Jeremiah 30:22)
- “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
- “In love, he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will.” (Ephesians 1:4b-5)
- “Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, Carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care.” (Isaiah 40:11)
- “Jesus replied, ‘The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.’” (Matthew 12:29-31)
- “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.” (1 John 4:16)
- “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)
- “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.” (John 14:1)
- “You, O God, are my strength…my joy, my delight…for I shall again praise him, my savior and my God.” (Psalm 43:2a, 4a, 5c)
Prayer for the Day
“You are God: we praise You;
You are the Lord: we acclaim You;
You are the Eternal Father: all creation worships You.
“…Throughout the world, the Holy Church acclaims You:
Father, of Majesty unbounded,
Your True and Only Son, worthy of all worship,
and the Holy Spirit, Advocate and Guide.
“You, Christ, are the King of glory,
the Eternal Son of the Father.
When You became man to set us free,
You did not spurn the Virgin’s womb.
“You overcame the sting of death,
and opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.
You are seated at God’s right hand in glory.
We believe that You will come and be our judge.
“Come then, Lord, and help Your people,
bought with the price of Your own Blood,
and bring us with Your saints to glory everlasting. Amen.”Te Deum (“To You, O God” – a hymn of praise)