Redemption

Rejoicing in Suffering – Mediation of the Studies in 1 Peter

Rejoicing in Suffering – Mediation of the Studies in 1 Peter

This confidence is captured in the beautiful last verse of our quoted passage: “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will do right and entrust their souls to a faithful Creator.” William Barclay tells us that the word we translate “entrust” is a technical term for depositing money with a trusted friend: “In the ancient days there were no banks and few really safe places in which to deposit money. So, before a man went on a journey, he often left his money in the safe keeping of a friend. Such a trust was regarded as one of the most sacred things in life. The friend was absolutely bound by all honour and all religion to return the money intact.” (Barclay, James and Peter, p.261) Then he adds this truth: “If a man entrusts himself to God, God will not fail him. If such a trust is sacred to men, how much more is it sacred to God.”

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A Ministry of Healing and Redemption – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

A Ministry of Healing and Redemption – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

…the same ministry of healing, liberation and redemption to which Our Lord was called as Messiah and Son of God, is the same ministry to which we all are called as sons and daughters of God, a ministry that cares deeply and works endlessly not just for the spiritual well-being of the world around us, but also for its physical and emotional, because this is the heart of God and, as Joel Green reminds us progeny are meant to exhibit the qualities of their parents.

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True Repentance – Gospel in Preparation for the Second Sunday in Advent

True Repentance – Gospel in Preparation for the Second Sunday in Advent

This is what we are called to turn and return to, not just once, but over and over again—whether we’ve completely fallen off the wagon (or never even gotten on it), or “simply” find ourselves struggling to trust in the goodness and character of God in the face of life’s struggles. True repentance and conversion don’t just happen once. They are a life-long process of constantly directing and re-directing ourselves towards God, who loves us more than we can fathom and who longs to fill every valley, make straight the crooked and smooth the rough. It is only as we turn away from the things that hurt us or harm us and turn toward Him and His love in trust and surrender that this healing, this salvation (the two words are often used interchangeably in the Gospels) can actually begin to take place.

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All Love – First Reading in Preparation for the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

All Love – First Reading in Preparation for the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

We come as a throng, but he invites us one by one. He comes for each of us as if we were the one sheep that had wandered away from a flock of a hundred. He calls each of us by name: Simon, Levi, Mary, Zacchaeus, Fred. He bids each of us to rise, leave behind our exile, and follow him home. And, in some great sense, from the moment we take his hand, we are already home for we are with him.

The good news of the gospel begins with the good news to every person on earth that their exile is over:

“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received double from the Lord’s hand for all her sins” (Isaiah 40:10)

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Drinking the Cup – Gospel in Preparation for the Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Drinking the Cup – Gospel in Preparation for the Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

But the call to willingly participate in the cross is not only a call to suffer, but also with Christ, “to scorn the shame of the cross” for the joy that is set before us (Heb 12:2). This, perhaps, is the hardest part because it can mean any number of things in which we, like Christ, look to the Father and plead, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do,” even as we endure the blows of loving those who may not be able to love us in return or who, in their own woundedness, unwittingly hurt us. It does not mean, of course, turning a blind eye to sin or injustice. But, following the example of Dr. King, Jr., it does mean not retaliating in kind, and even showing mercy to those who might not show it to you.

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No Other Name – First Reading in Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

No Other Name – First Reading in Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

That is to say, it was ‘For us men and our salvation…’ that he did not offer some cursory healing from afar as if, by the wave of a magic wand he could simply do away with our sins and make us fit for union with him. No, he bore, took on all the limitations inherent to our fallen humanity without sinning himself in order that our bondage to decay might be finally and totally broken and we might receive life.

In Christ, God was ‘recapitulating in himself the age-old shaping of the human creature, so that he might kill off sin, be rid of death, and give life to humanity.’ (St. Irenaeus of Lyon)

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Finding Meaning in Suffering – Gospel in Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

Finding Meaning in Suffering – Gospel in Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

We were not created to suffer. But the gospel is that God was not content to leave us in our suffering, nor did he remain aloof to it. Rather, he himself came to suffer and die so that the very life which we have marred though our sin and rebellion might be beautifully and wonderfully redeemed. And through the healing of the blind man, we have a small foretaste of the incomparable glory that awaits those of us who hope in the Lord.

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Embracing the Cross – Gospel for the Twenty Second Week in Ordinary Time

Embracing the Cross – Gospel for the Twenty Second Week in Ordinary Time

…Peter out of love wants Jesus to avoid the cross; Jesus out of love calls Peter to follow him to the cross:

“There are times when fond love seeks to deflect us from the perils of the path of God; but the real love is not the love which holds the knight at home, but the love that sends him out to obey the commandments of the chivalry which is given, not to make life easy, but to make life great” (Barclay 149)

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Sowing Love Prodigally – Gospel Reading for the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sowing Love Prodigally – Gospel Reading for the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

St. Augustine says, “If you see charity, you see the Trinity” and St. John tells us in his first letter that “he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (4:16). There is mysterious truth that is proven over and over again in the lives of the saints that only those people give themselves away in love as prodigally as the sower in the parable—however costly the seed—come to experience the love, hope and New Life offered them in Christ. They not only come to mirror the love of God to their neighbor, but actually become that love. They partake in the very life of God who is, himself, Love and is eternally giving.

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Hope Borne of Suffering – Second Reading of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Hope Borne of Suffering – Second Reading of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Pascal says that God will give you just enough light, that if you want to find him you will, but not so much light that if you don’t want to find him, you won’t. God does not force himself upon us, yet we know him to be true. He does not force eternal life on us, yet the desire for it is inscribed in our hearts (Eccl 3:11). Thus, we must choose to live for this life, despite the barriers that the enemy puts in our way. Hope is a grace, yes, but a grace that we must be willing to accept. We must take solace in the word of God, that it is a reliable glimpse of the glorious life that awaits us when we are truly born.

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