Sunday, July 24, 2016

Reflection for the 17th Week in Ordinary Time, Part 1

Monday – Earthen Vessels

In today's first reading, St. Paul tells us that we hold great treasures in earthen vessels. The indwelling presence of God Himself resides in us when we are in a state of grace. We welcome Him into our weak mortal bodies and greet Him with love. Further, He gives Himself to us in another way whenever we receive Holy Communion. The God of the universe becomes our nourishment. He humbles Himself and enters into us that we may belong to Him more and more.

This is why we can be afflicted by great trials but not constrained or closed-hearted because God's love is within us. We can be perplexed by what we do not understand but never driven to despair because we trust that God has everything figured out. We can be persecuted by those who ridicule our faith but not abandoned because God remains with us. We can be struck down even to death but not destroyed because we will rise to eternal life.

God is with us always, closer to us than we are to ourselves. We must trust Him no matter what happens in this life and let Him guide us home to Heaven.

Tuesday – Look to God

The prophet Jeremiah knew exactly where to look in times of trial and suffering. Even though his world was crumbling around him, even though the Israelites were being carried off into captivity in Babylon, even though he was left at the head of a cowardly and disobedient remnant, Jeremiah looked to God. He looked to Him for comfort, for forgiveness, for hope. He looked to Him for guidance, for protection, for restoration. And he trusted that in His own time and His own way, God would provide all of this and more. We should do the same.

Wednesday – The Treasure

What would you do if you found buried treasure? Not just any buried treasure either but the most spectacular thing you've ever seen complete with diamonds, gold, silver, and other jewels. Let's say you found this treasure in a vacant lot with a for sale sign on it. What would you do? It's a pretty safe bet that you'd come up with the money to buy the lot. Maybe you'd even pawn off your valuables to earn enough cash. Perhaps you'd empty your bank account. After all, you would know that if you got that treasure, it would make up for everything you spent and far beyond.

What if you really do have access to a hidden treasure? Indeed you do! You have access to the marvelous graces of the living God, to the Kingdom of Heaven, to eternal life, to the very indwelling presence of God Himself in your soul. It's yours for the taking, but you must be willing to give up some things in order to receive it. You must renounce sin and vice. You must get rid of selfishness and pride and greed and dishonestly. You must let go of your own will. But this is a very small price to pay to attain a treasure that is wonderful beyond your wildest imaginings.

Are you willing to give everything you have to receive a treasure that will make you truly happy forever?

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