Sunday, June 26, 2016

Reflection for the 13th Week in Ordinary Time, Part 1

Monday – Forgetting God

In today's psalm, God seems rather hard on people who forget Him: “Consider this, you who forget God, lest I rend you and there be no one to rescue you.” We might think this somewhat harsh. Humans tend to be distracted, after all. Many things catch and hold our attention, and it's hard to remember everything we're supposed to be doing.

This, of course, is no excuse. God is our Creator and Father. He keeps us in existence at every moment of our lives and gives us everything we have and everything we are. How, then, could we forget Him? How could we be so ungrateful as to not give thanks? How could we not want to speak to Him and love Him and be in relationship with Him? He loves us so much. How could we refuse to love Him in return?

Therefore, we need to work on our recollection. First, we must pray during the day at least several times. God should be the first One we talk to in the morning and the last One we say good night to in the evening. We must set aside blocks of time to converse with Him and listen to what He has to say to us in the Scriptures. Then, we must carry that conversation with us throughout the day. We can meditate on His words in spare moments and turn our minds to Him with little prayers of praise, thanksgiving, intercession, and petition. We must train ourselves to think of God often and be aware of His presence as much as we possibly can.

If we do this, well, just listen to God's promise: “He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies Me; and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God.”

Tuesday – O You of Little Faith

Jesus was sound asleep in the boat when the storm swept down upon it. The wind howled and the waves crashed, threatening to overwhelm the little boat and pull it beneath the sea. In terror, the helpless disciples cried out to Jesus, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”

Awakening, Jesus calmly looked around, took stock of the situation, and asked, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” Then He spoke to the wind and the sea, and they immediately settled down. All was calm and peaceful. The disciples could hardly believe their eyes. “What sort of man is this,” they asked each other, “Whom even the winds and the sea obey?”

Take a moment to reflect on this situation. What would you have done if you had been in the disciples' place? How would you have felt in the midst of the storm? What would you have thought of Jesus' demeanor and actions? Would He have a reason to say “O you of little faith” to you?

We all have our own storms in life. Jesus may seem to be asleep when we are in the midst of them. We may not feel His presence, or He may be silent. But we must still have faith. Our God does have every situation under control. He is in charge even when we don't sense it. He has a plan, and we must trust that He will work out everything for our good if only we stay close to Him and obey His will with love.

Wednesday – Radiant with Joy

On this feast of Saints Peter and Paul, we see disciples who are radiant with joy because they trust in God and keep their eyes fixed on Him.

St. Peter ends up in prison because he refuses to stop preaching the Gospel. Then a miracle happens. Even though Peter is heavily guarded, his guards remain asleep as an angel enters his cell. The chains fall from Peter's wrists. Peter obeys the angel's orders, puts on his belt, sandals, and cloak, and follows the angel straight out of prison. Only when he passes through the city gates does Peter realize that he is truly free, and his heart soars with joy in his saving God.

St. Paul echoes that joy in his second letter to Timothy. Paul is in prison, facing execution, but his heart is light, and he is filled with joy. “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith,” he declares. “From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me...” God has given him the strength to persevere in the faith and proclaim it to the Gentiles, but now he is ready to go home. He sees the Kingdom of God before him, and he can't help but radiate joy.

We, too, are called to be radiant with joy. And why shouldn't we be? Even in the darkest circumstances, our God loves us and stands beside us, protecting us and caring for us. We need only to trust Him and love Him in return.

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