The readings today combine the themes of peace, redemption, and readiness. As I read them, I thought of the literal meaning of peace and the surface message. My military background influences me as I read about peace and think immediately about peace-keeping missions. Yet, the more I reflected I felt the peace was perhaps an inner peace as opposed to peace between others. Maybe because I seek this inner peace, it seems the key message here to me.
Paul writes that there was a time when we were without Christ. Clearly as he writes this, he refers to the actual time when he lived and those persons that truly preceded Christ and those who had not yet discovered Him. It reminded me of times when I was without Christ. Times when I chose to abandon God and take my life into my own hands. Like so many, I sometimes think I’m in control of my life. Although I can honestly say I’m less likely to say or believe that with each passing year. This sense of unity with each other and with God is so strong in the first reading. I loved the use of the term sojourners – here we are for a short stay – in some sense, we are still sojourners with this stop a brief one, indeed, compared to all eternity. Paul’s point, I believe, is that now with Christ in our lives, we are not just passers by. We have an opportunity to be around for the duration albeit not here on earth for very long.
The idea of finding peace with God and maintaining that readiness discussed in the gospel is reminiscent of my weekend spent with Christians Encounter Christ two years ago. While I thought I frequently “walked” with Christ, I found that it was superficial compared to what depth it could achieve. I remember frequently using the phrase, “my new BEST friend, Jesus.” And truly it was a discovery of something wonderful and very real. The presence of the Holy Spirit was strong for the weekend and permeated each of us as we concluded that weekend. As Paul said: “ . . . in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”
The responsorial psalm speaks not only of peace but also the idyllic nature that is promised if we open our hearts to God and to wondrous things that are possible.
The gospel compels us to be ready and wait on our Lord. So when I examine myself in this regard, and find the logs in my eye, I know I need to continue to work on becoming ready. While I have no doubt about this need to be ready, I do wonder why I’ve been sporadic and not always heeding my own words of readiness.
A special thank you to all of you who prayed for me during my surgery and recovery. The positive energy was so empowering and comforting! The mass was cancer but non-invasive so that is good news. One more biopsy and then to continued monitoring. You were all a part of my speedy recovery and I am very grateful. May you all feel the comfort and presence of the Lord that I did during this time.
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