Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Reflection for the 6th Week of Easter, Part 2

Thursday – A New Song

“Sing to the Lord a new song...” A new song. How do we sing a new song to God? Does He expect us all to be skilled in musical composition and filled with infinite creativity?

No. But He does want us to sing to Him anew every day. This song that we sing, the song of our lives, the song of our praise and worship, the song of our hopes and fears, the song of our love, can always be new and fresh because every day is different. Every day brings some new way to interact with God; something new to learn about Him, about His plan for us, and about ourselves; some new situation or person in which to recognize and serve Him; some new stimulus for prayer and praise.

So every day we can sing a new song to the Lord, the song we live in intimacy with Him.

Friday – Grief to Joy

Jesus knew where He was going: to the cross. His disciples were about to experience the worst possible grief, that of seeing their Lord die a horrific death at the hands of the Romans. They would think that all their hopes were shattered, that everything they were clinging to was sliding through their hands, that God had abandoned them. They would “weep and mourn” while the world rejoiced.

But that was not the end of the story. There was something more to come, something wonderful, something amazing, something they would never really expect (even though they had been told of it). When that happened, their grief would turn to joy, an intense joy, a joy that penetrated all the way into their hearts, a joy that could never be taken from them. Jesus didn't say what this event would be, but we know that He rose from the dead.

This pattern of grief and joy is very much present in our lives. We, too, weep and mourn. We grieve for loved ones who are ill and for loved ones who die. Our grief is real and intense, but it is not the end of the story. Joy will come to us, too, perhaps the joy of healing but ultimately the joy of being reunited with our loved ones in Heaven, a joy that will never be taken from us. For this we pray. Amen.

Saturday – Fullness

Apollos had only part of the picture. He knew about Jesus, and he believed in Him. He even taught all about Him and about the Christian Way with great enthusiasm and to great effect. But Apollos was missing some things. He lacked the fullness of the faith. He was missing out on the sacramental life of the Church.

When Priscilla and Aquila heard Apollos speak, they knew what they had to do. They drew him aside and told him the rest of the story. He drank it in with relish and, presumably, was baptized right away.

Now, with the fullness of Christianity behind him (and in his heart), Apollos became even more of a powerhouse preacher, teaching and encouraging believers and refuting unbelievers. He had everything he needed.

We often see people like Apollos in the Christianity of today. What they have is good, but they lack important elements of Christianity, usually the sacramental life and authority of the Church. But when they discover the fullness of Catholicism, they become powerhouse preachers and teachers. We need only to look to the likes of Scott Hahn, Peter Kreeft, G.K. Chesterton, Fr. Dwight Longenecker, and Blessed John Henry Newman for examples.

Lord, may everyone who lacks the fullness of the Christian faith, which is found in the Catholic Church, find it, embrace it, and never leave it. Amen.

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