In reading the first reading I was struck by two things: Barnabas traveling to speak BOLDLY in the name of Jesus and the way that the passage ends saying that the Church was at peace and growing, walking in the “fear of the Lord.” I am totally at ease speaking to my students ( a captive audience) about Jesus and faith. That’s what they expect when they come to me, their religion teacher. I’m really feeling called to spread the word about one of the ways I believe the Lord wants to restore families unto Himself – that being through Home Enthronement of His Sacred Heart. I need the courage to speak boldly like Barnabas! Perhaps, I will request his prayers!
Jesus wants to be given the “go ahead” – the invitation to reign as King of our hearts and of our homes. He wants to pour abundant graces and blessings on our families and shield us from all of the evil whirling about in our world right now. We need His help and His blessing!
Fear of the Lord does not mean fear, as in “trembling.” It means acknowledging our place before God – allowing Him to reign in our lives – seeking His direction in all that we do – inviting Him to be an integral part of our families. It means having profound love and respect for God as Creator, Father, King! This is how we get peace, my friends. This is how our Church will grow and thrive – when we get this right. When we give God His rightful dominion over us – placing God first – above everyone and everything else in our lives – this is when we experience the peace that He promises – a little foretaste of heaven!
In the second reading, this line spoke to me: Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth. This morning, a wonderful man I know passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. All I can say is that this world will be a less happy place in his absence. He was truly a man whose life was living proof of God’s love. He did not love simply in words or speech, but his whole life was a reflection of Christ because of the way he lived it. Darrin was a man who always had a smile, a joke, an uplifting word for everyone. He was always giving of himself – of his amazing home cooked food – of his time. He was an amazingly involved and dedicated husband, father and friend. He will be sorely missed. Let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth!
The gospel is one of my favorites (I think I may have said this last week, too). I love the outdoors, and I love to garden. Today I spent hours in my yard planting grass plugs, and I actually enjoyed it! As a gardener the image of the vine and branches really speaks to me. I get that apart from God I can do NOTHING. In this world, independence and self-reliance is highly praised and respected.
Well, I can tell you that all that I have – be it people in my life, necessities, luxuries, talents, grace – it ALL comes from God. Separated from Him, I would truly wither and die. He is my very breath – my very heartbeat. I long to live in complete communion with Him. Some days I feel very, very close to Him. Other days, when I feel that He has left me, I realize that it is me who has gone away or shut Him out. Sometimes when I don’t quite feel His presence, I realize that this is part of the pruning process. Pruning is painful, my friends, but it helps to produce greater fruit. We need only trust that God created us, knows us inside and out, and loves us. He knows what is best for us. He is concerned about our temporal welfare here on earth, BUT He is especially interested in what will bring us closer to Him – what will lead us to heaven so that we may live in complete communion with Him for all eternity. Let us seek out whatever will keep us firmly attached to God’s vine.