Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Reflection for the 9th Week in Ordinary Time, Part 2

Thursday – Teach Me

Are you willing to let God teach you? Will you say with the psalmist, “Teach me Your ways, O Lord”?

Such a request is a risk. God uses His own methods to help us learn what we need to know, and sometimes those methods don't seem all that pleasant to us. Suffering, for instance, tends to teach us much more than smooth sailing does, so sometimes God allows us to suffer so we can learn important lessons.

And what are those lessons that God wants to teach us? They aren't all that comfortable sometimes either. We need to learn to believe when all is dark, hope when we feel like despairing, and love when it's the last thing we want to do. We need to develop habits of virtue, and to do that we must often make difficult choices. We choose to be courageous when we want to run, honest when it would be easier to lie, patient when we feel like screaming, persevering when we would rather fall apart.

None of this is easy, but if we want to know God and His ways, then we must open our minds and hearts to His lessons. We must want to learn. We must beg God to teach us. And we must trust that the more we learn, the happier we will be because the closer we will come to our great Teacher.

Friday – Christ Died for Us

Christ died for us. We hear those words so often that they have become commonplace. We take them for granted but rarely stop to think about their true significance.

Christ died for us. We were sinners, separated from God, bent on doing our own will. We were shut out of Heaven by the sin of our first parents. God wouldn't have had to do anything about that. Human beings had made their choice. They had chosen themselves over Him. But He wouldn't leave us to perish.

So Christ died for us. He came to earth as a Man, still divine but human, too, so He could take our punishment, the curse of death upon Himself. And He did.

Christ died for us that we might live with Him. He suffered on the cross, and He died in His human nature. But death couldn't hold Him. He rose again on the third day, still both divine and human with a human nature higher than before, a human nature that, since His ascension, has entered into the very inner life of the Blessed Trinity.

Christ died for us. We are no longer constrained by sin. We can now have the indwelling presence of God in our very souls. We can choose to live today in such a way that we are already living in eternity. God's grace pours over us. He fills us with faith, hope, and love. We can share in His very life already now and one day fully in Heaven where we will see Him face to face.

That's why Christ died for us.

Saturday – Be Persistent
In today's first reading, Paul tells Timothy to “be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient.” Timothy is to proclaim God's word whether people want to hear it or not and live God's word even if it leads to ridicule and suffering. As a bishop, Timothy is to “convince, reprimand, [and] encourage” his flock with both patience and firmness. The people won't always listen, Paul warns. Many will follow their own paths, rejecting “sound doctrine” for their own interpretations. They will refuse to listen to the truth but rather prefer lies that support their own passions. Timothy will have to put up with much hardship, but he must never cease to evangelize, never cease to speak truth, never cease to work hard in order to draw people to Christ.

We might wonder how all of this applies to us. Most of us aren't bishops and don't have that level of responsibility. This reading does, however, invite us to examine ourselves. Are we those people who prefer lies to truth? Do we want to hear what God has to say to us, or would we prefer to follow our own paths. Do we reject sound doctrine for feel-good psychology?

Further, even though we may not be ordained bishops or priests, as Christians we are called to evangelize, to speak and to live God's word whether it is convenient or inconvenient. We all have to make choices every day and decide whether we will follow the world's lies or God's truth. We, too, need to be persistent in receiving truth, goodness, and beauty with open hearts and then spreading that truth, goodness, and beauty everywhere we go.

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