In reflecting upon the first reading and the psalm for today, I immediately think of my teenage students. Whenever we talk about the commandments and the rules that God has set before us, some always want to know why God wishes to squash our fun or suck the joy right out of living. I explain to them that God knows what will make us truly happy – now and in the long run. He created those laws for us as a blueprint for joy and fulfillment. He knows that when we walk in His ways and follow His commands, we are genuinely free, and that brings us happiness in this life and in the next. “Your words Lord, are Spirit and Life!”
“Brothers and sisters:
As a body is one though it has many parts,
and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body,
so also Christ.
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body,
whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons,
and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.” (Paul’s letter to the Corinthians)
How beautiful is this! We are one body in Christ – adopted sons and daughters of God through our baptism. One might be the foot, another the hand, another the eyeball, and so on. We all have different gifts and jobs in the body of Christ, but we are all important and must work together to be most effective. John Paul II was a proponent of ecumenical work. As followers of God, we ought to focus on what we have in common, and unite to make our world a better place – a place free from starvation, injustice, abuse, hunger, and so on…How I wish that we could bring our country back to the Christian principles on which we were founded. I still get the goosebumps when I sing the national anthem or say the pledge with the children in the morning – thinking about our founding fathers and what the flag represented for them.
Regarding the gospel, I wish I could have been a fly upon the wall in that synagogue as Jesus revealed His true identity to those in attendance. Wow! What a moment that must have been! And yet – there were still Jews after Jesus died, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. Not all were convinced or became Christians (followers of Christ) after these amazing events. When I think about the difficulty there is with conversion in our world today, I think – here recounted in the bible are people who actually lived when Jesus lived, saw his miraculous healings, heard Him preach, even watched Him die – heard stories of His resurrection and ascension – and yet some of them were not moved to conversion. On Friday, we read of the dramatic conversion of St. Paul. Don’t you wish, and even pray that conversion would be so instantaneous and intense for ourselves – our loved ones? – Heck! The World we live in today.
Let us pray with fervor and make sacrifices for the conversion of our world – one precious soul at a time!