Thursday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time, September 3
May Our Witness to the Teachings of Jesus Christ, by the Way We Exhibit the Virtues of Faith, Hope and Selfless Love in Both Our Words and Actions, Be a Cause for Others to Find Joy in the Gospel Message.
“…they left everything and followed him.” – words which we read in today’s Gospel.
As I began reflecting upon these words, I began thinking about the masses of people who, before this current pandemic, attended rock concerts or the premier showing of a particular movie in which the actors who star in the movie will travel long distances to attend, and the many fans who are drawn to these events.
And I found myself wondering what possesses people, especially those who are in their teenage years or early twenties, to sit outside a ticketron location, spending all night, sometimes in sleeping bags, just so they can purchase a ticket that would give them an opportunity to see their favorite rock or pop star, or maybe catch a glimpse of some other Hollywood idol?
I tried to remember back to the days of my own youth as to whether I was the same way, and I must admit that I was never attracted to entertainment stars the same way that many people were back then and still are today.
So, what is it about these stars (and, for some, I use this word rather loosely) that holds such a strong attraction on today’s youth? Do our youth have a hunger for something which only certain people can fill? Is there some sort of magnetic or compelling attraction about these entertainers which draws our youth to them in droves?
I feel as though I fall somewhat short in being able to provide some sort of intelligent answer to these questions, other than what we can discern in how the people during Jesus’ day used to flock to Him, to wherever He was preaching.
There was something about Jesus, something about what He said and the way He said it, which attracted many to Him! Scripture tells us that the people “…were astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority.”
In today’s Gospel, we are presented with the image of a huge crowd of people “…pressing in on Jesus” to the point where He could no longer stand on the edge of the lake, so He decided to enter Simon Peter’s boat and preach from a short distance offshore.
And then, to the utter amazement of Simon Peter and others, He caused a miraculous catch of fish to take place! And Scripture tells us, “…they left everything and followed him.”
I sometimes wonder “What if ?” What if the Messiah had not come two thousand years ago, but rather the fullness of time was today? What if the prophesied Christ walked among us today for the first time? Would we flock to Him as the people did long ago? Would we camp out to hear His words, as our youth do today just to be able to buy a ticket to see someone perform or sing?
I am so thankful the Wisdom of God is infinitely greater than ours, for I believe the perfect time was some two thousand years ago and not today! I firmly believe that the hardness of many hearts today, the condition in which we find our world and society would not be very receptive or open to our Savior’s message of love, compassion and mercy.
The message from God has never changed. Divine Truth is forever constant, but His words have had two thousand years to mature and grow within the hearts of His children who are willing to listen, who are willing to place His Truth first before the lies and the almost countless seductions we find today in the cultures in which we live.
And for those of us who joyfully call ourselves Christian, for those of us who have made a free-will choice to embrace the message of Christ and the teachings of His Church, then, as Saint Paul tells us today, “…everything belongs to you…and you to Christ.”
By virtue of the faith which fills our hearts, and by virtue of the fullness of God’s Truth which we have accepted and choose to live in our daily lives, we have embraced the example which Simon Peter and others, long ago, have set before us – we have chosen to give up the world and all the false delusions and grandeur which it offers, for we have chosen to leave everything and follow the Lord of Hosts.
Our desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to Himself. Only in God will man find the truth and happiness for which he eternally yearns.
And this yearning begins at the very moment of our Baptism, in which we have been configured to the Incarnate Word; we share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ, in his prophetic and royal mission. As Saint Peter tells us in his First Letter, we are “…a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own…”
By virtue of the very gift of life which we live and by virtue of our Baptism in Christ, we are sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father; we are all brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ – co-heirs with Christ in His Heavenly Kingdom.
Our psalmist asks us today, “Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD? Or who may stand in his holy place?”
The answer is simple. “[Those] whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain” – those who claim Christ as their own, who leave behind all that does not come from God, and who freely choose to “follow Him.”
May our witness to the teachings of Jesus Christ, by the way we exhibit the virtues of faith, hope and selfless love in both our words and actions, be a cause for others to also find joy in the Gospel message – all for the sake of God’s Kingdom here on Earth today!
For we truly DO belong to Him – He who is our Eternal Lord and Savior, and a Most Merciful and Loving God! †
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
- “And they were astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority.” (Luke 4:32)
- “When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.” (Luke 5:11)
- “…everything belongs to you…and you to Christ, and Christ to God.” (1 Corinthians 3:21b, 23)
- “But you are ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises’ of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were ‘no people’ but now you are God’s people; you ‘had not received mercy’ but now you have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10)
- “The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.” (Romans 8:16-17)
- “Who may go up the mountain of the LORD? Or who may stand in his holy place?” (Psalm 24:3)
- “The clean of hand and pure of heart, who has not given his soul to useless things, what is vain. He will receive blessings from the LORD, and justice from his saving God.” (Psalm 24:4-5)
- “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare, not for woe, so as to give you a future full of hope. When you call me, and come to pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
- “In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:11-12)
- “In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised holy Spirit, which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14)
- “Do not fear: I am with you; do not be anxious: I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
Prayer for the Day
“O Lord God, my Savior and my dearest Friend,
I pray for the grace and the strength
to remain faithful to Your teachings
and to the Sacramental life of the Church.
“Help me to persevere in the commitments
and promises I have made to You.
Give me the fortitude to live up to the vocation
I received during my Baptism as Your faithful child.
“Help me to place love and service to You
before all else in my life,
remaining true to Your Truth,
not abandoning myself to the lies and deceits of Satan.
“Grant me the grace to be a holy example for others,Anonymous
never abandoning Your laws for my own sake.
May I be a model of faithfulness and selfless love,
giving You honor and glory both now and forever. Amen.”