The responsorial psalm provides the easier lesson – Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations. Everyday we are able to see these deeds evident in the beauty around us and the love of the ones we hold dear. We easily:
One of the Ignatian values is to find God in all things. If we see with open hearts, we will not miss these wonders. It is so easy to take many of our blessings for granted until there is a threat to them. Sometimes the possible loss of such blessings makes us aware of how important they are. For me, the recent deaths of some family members and friends (younger than me!!) reinforced both the fragility of life and the many blessings that I have. So, I continue to sing . . .
The first reading and the gospel deliver very challenging messages. The Thessalonians are congratulated in their deepening of faith as they face persecution and afflictions. As we face the demands of life, we are encouraged to lean on our faith, on our relationship with God. I cannot imagine facing any day with my faith, without an ongoing dialogue with God. I truly do not know how one survives without a relationship with God – it is more basic that anything in life. Yet, the gospel makes me face the mirror and examine the consistency of my behavior with my beliefs. Jesus called the Pharisees on the incongruence of their behaviors. While I honestly strive to live what I believe and value, I know there are times when I fail – when I am like the Pharisees. The redeeming feature is, indeed, “saving grace.” It is the grace of God and the Holy Spirit that enables me and the rest of us to be forgiven and to have the opportunity to try again. It is the unconditional love of God for us and His desire for us to return that love that is the center of our lives.
Last week we celebrated the Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary. The readings and the songs were reminders of the rewards of being so faith-filled. Mary surrendered to God’s will, never considering that there would be any other decision. Unlike the Pharisees and the rest of us, Mary never veered from her faith. Her actions were perfectly aligned with what she believed. Her life is the example to which we all aspire. To so purely believe and act, without question.
I am reminded of the scripture from a few weeks ago:
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