Thursday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time, September 2
May Our Witness to the Teachings of Jesus Christ, by the Way We Exhibit the Virtues of Faith, Hope and Love in Both Our Words and Actions, Be a Cause for Others to Also Find Joy in the Gospel Message.
“…they left everything and followed him.” – words which we read in today’s Gospel.
I remember writing about this once before, but as I began reflecting upon these words in the Gospel, I began thinking about the masses of people who attend 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 on being able to provide some sort of intelligent answers 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 in which He said it, that 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 amongst 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, “He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
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 Jesus, who truly is our only “…way and the truth and the life.”
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 he 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!
May the witness we give to our life of faith cause us also to become fishers of men. May the witness we give become as an echo of the words of today’s psalmist, “The LORD has made his salvation known…”
And may our witness to the teachings of Jesus Christ, by the way we exhibit the virtues of faith, hope and 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! †
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)
- “He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14)
- “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)
- “The LORD has made his salvation known…He has remembered his mercy and faithfulness toward the house of Israel.” (Psalm 98:2a, 3a)
- “My brothers, if anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone bring him back, he should know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20)
- “I have become all things to all, to save at least some. All this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I too may have a share in its blessings.” (1 Corinthians 9:22b-23)
- “I am the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6a)
Prayer for the Day
“O Lord God, my Savior and my dearest Friend,Anonymous
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,
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.”