Study: Reflect on an experience when your got a second chance. How did it feel? What did you do with the gift?
Pray: Is there a difficult or painful situation in your life right now? Ask the Lord to touch and bless it with new life.
Serve: If you could do one thing to improve your relationships with others right now, what would it be?
A common pattern emerges from the readings this week: someone in need is brought back to life. Take a look…
- 1st Reading– Elijah restores the widow’s son at Zarephath
- Psalm – “I will praise you Lord, for you have rescued me.”
- 2nd Reading – Paul recounts his journey from persecutor to apostle
- Gospel – Jesus restores the widow’s son at Nain
Obviously, the 1st reading and the Gospel show this restoration – they were dead, and now they are brought back to life! Can you imagine the joy, the awe and wonder, of such an event? The mystery of life and death lies at the heart of human existence, and in these readings we confront miracles that give new opportunities for these two widows’ sons…for their lives are forever altered by the second chance they have been given.
The psalmist expresses this sentiment by praising God with a grateful heart. There’s nothing like a brush with death to wake us up to the gift of life! While I don’t wish anyone to come to harm, sometimes we can get caught in a routine where we start taking our gifts for granted, assuming that things will always remain the same. We can become complacent, and over time this can fossilize our faith and lead to laziness, lethargy, and a lapse.
Which brings us to St. Paul. The one who formerly was persecuting the Church now recounts in this passage of Galatians how he proclaimed the Gospel in the early years of his conversion. Preaching in Arabia, then Damascus, he would then travel to Jerusalem to share with the apostles his efforts. Simply put, his “rescue” results in a renewal of faith that will set the world on fire! He will take his second chance and fearlessly proclaim the Good News, offering his life for Jesus Christ.
In the light of these readings I suggest two key points today. First, is there a part of our lives that is lifeless? Perhaps we have a relationship, situation, or habit that is causing death and destruction? This might be the opportunity to invite the Lord in to touch and bless it with new life.
Second, have we been taking a gift for granted? Have we become complacent about our opportunities, relationships, and circumstances? How might we live the gift of our lives at full power for the Lord and one another?
In many ways, all of us have been given a “second chance” with every new day we walk the earth. There are no promises, and each day is a gift that comes from God. How we live this daily gift says a lot about our conviction and character. May we cast out anything that deadens and embrace all that fosters faith and life!