1 Thessalonians 5:1-6, 9-11 “…’…you are children of the light…For God did not destine us for wrath, but to gain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live together with him.’…”
Psalm 27: 1, 4, 13-14 “…’One thing I ask of the LORD; this I seek: To dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD and contemplate his temple.’….”
Luke 4: 31-37 “…’I know who you are – the Holy One of God!’ Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!’...”
Blessed Jeanne Jugan – (1792-1879) born of a poor family in Brittany France. She was drawn to working for the poor and elderly, particularly the widowed from early on in life. Her praying community eventually became a religious order called the Sisters of the Poor. She spent the last 27 years of her life working behind the scenes in their motherhouse with the postulants. She was known for her humility and at one point worked very much out in the world to raise money for the work of the order.
In our first reading from Paul to the Thessalonians we witness Paul’s enthusiastic language as he speaks to the early Church community about not knowing the hour of Christ’s return. He says “the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night.” (1Thes 5:2) Other writings to the early Church indicate that the people believed they would witness Jesus’ return in their own lifetime. I wonder if it made a difference in their walk here on earth; thinking that that day could come at any time? Just like today, no one then knew the hour or the day of Christ’s return. And so, Paul invites us to stay alert and sober…and to encourage one another in Christ Jesus.
It‘s hard to find this type of enthusiasm for our Faith in our world today. But, in thinking about these early Christians, I couldn't help but think of the images that were being broadcast from Cologne Germany as EWTN covered the experience of the over one million young people attending the World Youth Day (WYD) events the week ending Sunday August 21st. As you listened you heard the zeal in their voices. Through the television and radio broadcasts I was brought back to my own lived experience when I traveled as a chaperone to the WYD held in the USA in Denver Colorado, in 1993. It remains hard to describe, but there was a genuine love for humankind shared among those present; Agape Love - God’s love. It was a sense of security and care and concern all rolled together, as we greeted one another moving from event to event. WYD was an international experience with everyone united in their love of the Lord and love for each other. It left a lasting impression on me, one I’ll probably never forget, and I knew I’d met the Holy Spirit for the first time. Yes, we were on a pilgrimage, but I only remember the feelings of care, concern and genuine love that permeated the air.
So, today, let’s consider ourselves called to serve one another. Let us stand in awe as we hear of Jesus expelling a demon in today’s gospel from Luke. The demon calls out to Jesus saying “I know who you are – the Holy One of God.” (Luke 4:34) But Jesus tells the demon to “Be quiet! Come out of him!” So, matter of fact, Jesus expelled the demon from the man and the man was cured. He can do that in our lives too. Let us take time today to be in awe of the Lord who we will spend eternity with, who did things no human being could do. The folks who witnessed this act at Capernaum said of Jesus, “What is there about his word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” (Luke 4:36) With the enthusiasm of those leaving WYD, let us not be afraid to spread the word about Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Light.
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