Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Reflections for the 22nd Week in Ordinary Time, Part 2

Thursday – How to Pray for One Another

In his letter to the Colossians, St. Paul assures his audience of his unceasing prayers. Then he proceeds to tell them exactly what and how he is praying for them. In doing so, he gives us an important lesson about how we are to pray for others. Let's look closely at St. Paul's prayers.

* St. Paul prays that the Colossians will be filled with the knowledge of God's will.
* He prays for spiritual wisdom and understanding for them.
* He asks that they live in a manner that is worthy of God.
* He requests that his hearers will be completely pleasing to God.
* He begs that every good work of theirs will bear good fruit.
* He hopes that the Colossians will attain strength through God's power and might.
* He offers his prayer for their patience and endurance.
* He asks that they may find joy and may give thanks to God always.
* He prays that they may recognize and share in their inheritance as God's children.
* He reminds them that they have been forgiven, freed from darkness, redeemed by the Son, and made members of the Kingdom of God.

How often do we pray like this for our beloved family members and friends? It is certainly acceptable to ask God for their health and well being and for material favors, but St. Paul's prayers are one of the highest expressions of love in prayer that we find in Scripture. He requests the best of the best for the Colossians. Shouldn't we do the same for those we love and, indeed, for everyone?

Friday – Joy

Today's Psalm invites us to joy. Christians ought to be joyful people. We've got everything going for us. Our God created us as unique individuals and then invited us to share in His own divine life. He became Man and died for our sins so that we could share in that life and live with Him in Heaven forever. He has a plan for each one of us that works out for our very best if only we cooperate with Him. He loves us more than we can ever imagine. He is faithful to us forever and never turns His back on us. When we sin and turn our backs on Him, He waits for us, and then He opens His arms wide to welcome us back the moment we repent and confess our sins. He showers us with mercy and compassion and kindness. He pours grace upon us, actual grace to help us at every moment of the day and sanctifying grace, which is His very presence in our souls. He hears and answers all of our prayers.

Just think...our all-powerful, all-wise, all-present God is also all-loving, and He wants to be in an intimate relationship with each and every one of us. He holds us in His hands and never lets go. Why shouldn't we be filled with joy?

Saturday – The Way, the Truth, and the Life

Today's Gospel Acclamation reminds us of something very important. Listen to it again: "I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord; no one comes to the Father except through Me."

Anyone who has ever gone to Heaven or will ever go to Heaven has been or will be saved by Jesus Christ. There are no exceptions. He is the one way. He is the ultimate truth. He is life itself, eternal Life. No one comes to the Father except through Him.

Does this mean that anyone who isn't Christian will not get into Heaven? The Church says no. There is hope for non-Christians to go home to God. We Catholics, however, are blessed. We have the fullness of the faith. We have every means that God has given us to help us get home to Him. But He is not limited to those means. In His own mysterious way, He interacts with people of many faiths and perhaps even with people who don't think they have faith at all.

That being said, however, anyone who is saved is only saved by Jesus Christ. Judaism does not save. Islam does not save. Buddhism does not save. Hinduism does not save. Paganism does not save. The New Age movement does not save. Only Jesus saves. He is the only road to Heaven. He is the only path to the Father. He is the only highway home.

Only Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Take some time today to meditate on that remarkable revelation.

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