All three readings today provide many rich passages for reflecting on God’s salvation. Who are we that such an awesome God cares about us so thoroughly? All three readings remind us of God’s saving power that offers hope here and now and ever after. The reading from First Peter focuses more on the ever after, but even it assures us of joy that we can experience now as we daily acknowledge our belief in the saving power of Jesus and seek to love and serve Him with our whole hearts and minds.
If we’re struggling with a particular trial, we can ask for the grace that will allow us to grow and see opportunities for praise and hope amidst the difficulty, as the verses in First Peter model for us. In the spirit of the Psalm we can remember times in past trials when the Lord remembered us and brought us through a trial. We can give thanks with all our heart for these works. Stories of God’s deliverance offer such valuable reminders of how much God wants for us. It is so important to repeat biblical stories of deliverance, and our own stories of deliverance, again and again because human nature is so prone to fear and grumbling. Recently I’ve heard amazing personal stories about deliverance from things such as date rape, infidelity, and even court martial. One woman told of being put in the hospital for what turned out to be a misdiagnosis, which saved her from a terribly self-destructive choice. What stories of deliverance shore up your courage and offer opportunities to praise and honor the Lord?
The gospel reading also shows us how much God wants for us to be saved. The rich young ruler was following the rules. It would have been easier for Jesus to have said, “Correct answer, good job!” Instead, Jesus took the time to look at the rich young man with understanding. Jesus loved him enough to tell him what he needed to do to truly be saved. If you are like me, not particularly wealthy and not particularly materialistic, it is easy to be self-righteous about this passage. We can dwell on how terrible it is that “those wealthy people” don’t get it and decry the consumerist culture. However, I propose that today Jesus loves each of us deeply and longs to look at us and tell us what “one more thing” we need to do. If you’re not wealthy or materialistic, I venture to say that giving up wealth and possessions is not the “one more thing” that He will ask of you. When I had this thought after reading the passage I tried to get myself to stand before the Lord in reflection and ask what that “one more thing” might be for me. I thought it would be good to be able to share what I’d learned in this reflection. However, I must admit that what I learned is that I was afraid to do this. What might be asked of me that would make my face fall? I pray that today, in the confidence that “with God all things are possible” and further bolstered by the assurance that God delivers and preserves us, we will all be able to approach Jesus with confidence and ask Him to show us what “one thing” may be standing in the way of us more fully entering into the salvation and abundant life that He so lovingly and faithfully offers to us.
Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook