Sunday, October 25, 2015

Reflections for the 30th Week in Ordinary Time, Part 1

Monday – Children of God

Our first parents, Adam and Eve, shared intimately in the divine life of God. They walked with Him in the garden in the coolness of the evening, speaking with Him just as loving children communicate with their loving Father. Then tragedy struck. Adam and Eve sinned, and in disobeying God, they lost their share in the divine life, that sanctifying grace that filled them with their Father's presence. They lost it for themselves and for all of their descendants.

But God had a plan. He wanted His children back. He wanted a universal family to share His life. Over the centuries, He prepared a people for Himself through a series of covenants (sacred family bonds created by swearing an oath). With each covenant, He drew more and more people into His family, but they weren't ready for full sonship yet. 

Then the time arrived. The Father sent His Son, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, to suffer and die for His people. Jesus' death and Resurrection re-opened the flow of sanctifying grace. Because of Jesus, we have received the Spirit of God, which allows us to cry out “Abba, Father!” Once again, we have access to the divine life of God. Once again, we can share in that very life. We can be sons and daughters of God. We can call Him “Abba!” or “Daddy!” We can have the intimacy that our first parents lost and that God has longed to restore for many centuries. We are now heirs with Jesus, suffering with Him but also entering into glory with Him, and one day, we can go home to Heaven to be with our Lord forever and ever.

Tuesday – Gaps in the Goodness

Even creation awaits salvation from God. St. Paul tells us this in today's first reading. “Creation,” he says, “was made subject to futility.” It has been enslaved to corruption and groans as it awaits delivery from that defilement. 

How did this happen? When our first parents sinned, their disobedience and lack of self-giving love affected the whole world. Human sin opened up gaps in the goodness of creation, clearing the way for tempests and earthquakes, floods and fires, extreme heat and frigid cold. Nature grew unfriendly to humankind, and the world became a much harsher place in which to live.

We still live in that fallen world, that world affected by sin and prone to disasters and tragedy. But because of Jesus Christ, we now live in hope. One day our Lord and Savior will return, and He will usher in a new Heaven and a new earth. He will refresh creation and fill in all the gaps in the goodness. God's children will share in Jesus' resurrected glory, and the rest of creation will join in rejoicing at its re-creation. 

So we pray for that day when God will wipe all the tears from our eyes and heal our broken world. Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!

Wednesday – The Household of God

We Catholics are full members of the household of God, which, as St. Paul explains, is “built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the capstone.” This household, the Catholic Church, has received the fullness of the Christian faith. We have everything that Jesus has given His people for our salvation: Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, the Magisterium (the Church's teaching office), the Pope (the vicar of Christ), all seven sacraments, the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, the saints, and so much more. 

Further, this household of God isn't restricted to this world. Those of us still living on earth form the Church Militant as we fight to guard and extend our faith. But we aren't alone. The souls currently being purified by the fire of God's love in Purgatory make up the Church Suffering. We pray for them, and they pray for us in return. Finally, those who enjoy the Beatific Vision in Heaven are part of the Church Triumphant. They, too, pray for us, lifting us up with great love before God, Whom they see face to face.

All of us are held together in Christ, and we grow together in love, forming a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit as He works in this world, purifies souls in Purgatory, and fills the saints in Heaven with great delight. As Scripture says, we are God's beloved children, members of His family, and heirs with Jesus Christ to His promise of eternal life.

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