Colossians 3: 12-17; “Put on, as God’s chosen ones,… And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Psalm 150: 1b-2, 3-4, 5-6; “…Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!”
Luke 6: 27-38 “…But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful….”
Memorial of St. John Chrysostom, bishop and doctor of the Church (d 407) St. John Chrysostom was renowned for his preaching ability (his name means golden mouth). He was made Bishop of Constantinople, a position he did not seek. The people loved this saint; he spoke with such conviction and knowledge. But the Empress Eudoxia grew to dislike him because he spoke out against the excesses of the wealthy and powerful. Eventually she was able to expel him from Constantinople, along with the help of Theophilus, then Archbishop of Alexandria, who feared his popularity. St. John did not give up hope of being able to return to Constantinople, but it did not happen and he died in exile. I recommend you Google this saint yourself. His life was very interesting especially how poorly he was treated and judged unfairly. This happens to all of us I thought; as it also fit in with my reflections for today.
When you pray for answers to a challenge that presents itself in life, just wait the answer will come. As I found out, when you least expect it. I was surprised as I read today’s readings and some more confirmation answering one of my questions lately. When I read these readings the other night, I thought, oh no, Lord don’t make me go there. Lately, I’d been feeling slighted on a certain matter; and all of life was feeling unfair. Why is it we start discounting ourselves when life gives us a blow? Lately, feeling unappreciated and somewhat lost, I have spent many hours in prayer. What was my next step? My centering prayer practice has taught me to pause in any given situation. Also, the prayer develops the practice of letting go, but still I would find myself reaching back and grabbing ahold of the feelings of hurt again. I was reading my God Calling book and finding some resolution. But, trust is such a big step for such a little word. I’m paraphrasing, but I read, Trust God, and don’t feel defeated. Know that I am strong because God is strong. That helps for sure, I thought. Strong enough for anything I might meet. God won’t give me anything more than I can handle. And, then I sat down to read and reflect on the readings for today, and I kept seeing confirmation upon confirmation, and immediately I thought okay I guess you do have to hit me over the head. I read from Colossians, “...if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.” (Col. 3:13) As God’s chosen ones, we are invited to “put on” heartfelt compassion, kindness…bearing with and forgiving one another. And in the Gospel from Luke; “To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6:27-28)
How many times do we fall short of displaying the mark of a Christian, or as we are referred to in Paul’s Letter to the Colossians, “God’s chosen ones”? The more you are impacted by another, the harder it is to “put on” that virtue described in today’s readings. But, Luke’s Gospel goes even further, and reminds us it is not hard to act like a Christian when the going is easy. And you think, how many times have I read this reading? But, yes, I can now relate, because when someone does something to hurt you it is very hard to do the Christian thing; to forgive, as the Father forgives me. So, today I am being invited, we are all invited to look at the list of virtues and personalize the attribute. Can we apply these traits even when it is hard to do? Me, I have to keep praying for God’s strength to follow through with that which I know is the right thing to do with my situation. For, the Gospel also says “…then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:35-36)
More confirmation fueling my thoughts, a little less confusion; what more do I have to hear? Even still, I sit with some reluctance, but I have hope that I can and will do the right thing.
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