The Lord reveals to the disciples that they are blessed in what they have seen and heard. The same is true for us: we have been blessed with the gift of faith…now it’s up to us to live it.
Tag Archives: Blessing
The Lord’s teaching in the Gospel of Luke can drive us to our knees as we count our blessings, and then lift us to new heights as we make something precious with what we’ve received. What will you do with your gift of life?
Living one’s life for the Lord does not mean it will be easy; rather, we face the struggles before us with God’s grace to carry out what must be done. A blessed life, then, is not about wealth, health, or earthly glory…it’s about being in right relationship with Jesus Christ.
Study: Consider when you were blessed with strength and guidance in a tough time. How did you experience this blessing?
Pray: We all know many people who are having a tough time right now. Ask the Lord to give them the courage and conviction to carry on.
Serve: Is there some way you can be a blessing to another? How might you use your gifts and talents to alleviate suffering today?
Let’s take a quick review of the readings:
- 1st Reading – Jeremiah speaks of blessings and curses in relationship to the Lord
- Psalm – “Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.”
- 2nd Reading – St. Paul preaches about the resurrection of Jesus Christ
- Gospel – Jesus offers a series of blessings and woes in Luke’s Gospel
There is a dangerous trap that Christians must always be alert to avoid. It runs like this:
- I follow Christ and carry out his commands.
- I strive to live a good and holy life.
- Therefore, because I am a “good” person, God will bless me with an easy life.
In other words, since I am doing what God commands, God owes me. We often find this thinking surfaces when something bad happens – and illness, death, reversal of fortune, pain, or any number of bad scenarios – and suddenly people start blaming God. “Why is God doing this to me? I’m a good person! I don’t deserve this!”
The trap misleads us into thinking that our faith is suppose to protect us from the unfortunate. If we buy into this concept, then we begin to treat our faith at best as a legal contract and at worst as a magical formula where we have power over God.
Life is hard. Life makes demands and challenges us with pain, discomfort, struggle and testing. While we might wish that all days were easy, we know that tough times come along.
And in the face all these obstacles God blesses us with grace, uniting us in our relationship with the Lord and one another. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are blessed when our lives are configured to God and cursed when we step away from the Lord. We can be tempted to trust more in fleeting things like wealth, power, good looks or fame, yet only God offers the enduring strength of love in this life and the next.
The next time something difficult happens, ask this one question: How does my faith in Jesus Christ help me right now? We are blessed when we experience God’s grace to face life’s obstacles. We are blessed when we allow the Lord to work through our lives – even when it’s hard. We are blessed when we receive God’s love with open and gentle hearts.
May God bless us all with exactly what we need to continue on our journey through life today.
What are you thankful for today? What gifts do you recognize right now in your life and how do you share them gratefully with others? How has God’s grace transformed your life? Now go, and be a blessing in the world!
Your life is a gift. Freely given by God, this treasure is meant to be shared and lived with a passionate conviction. May gratitude fill our hearts as we offer our lives to the Lord!
Jesus offers a two step process to be blessed. First, we must hear the Word of God. Second, we have to act on it! Here’s the question: do you want to be blessed?
Study: How have I reacted in the past when someone I know has been particularly blessed or fortunate? Am I supportive or jealous?
Pray: Ask the Lord for the grace and wisdom to celebrate sincerely with others when they have received special gifts or opportunities.
Serve: How can you support others in their moments of blessing? How might you be generous with gratitude for another person’s good fortune?
Consider the following possible situations and scenarios:
- Your neighbor that you have known for over twenty years has just won the lottery.
- A high school classmate that you didn’t talk to very much in school makes it big in Hollywood.
- A relative gets left a hefty sum of money from your old uncle and goes on a long trip around the world.
- A kid who used to ride your bus to school is now the executive at the company – and is your boss.
- A fellow employee in another office gets a big bonus for a successfully completed project.
- Your best friend has the opportunity to have a special audience with the Pope – through a connection with a friend in the Vatican.
All of these scenes have one thing in common: through an encounter with generosity and/or opportunity another individual benefits and possesses rewards that we do not share.
How do we react? How do our attitudes and actions change toward those who have received unexpected (and sometimes unearned) generosity? While I know that I hope that I would be good natured, polite, friendly, and supportive – a part of me echoes with the sentiments of the workers in today’s Gospel.
There is a sense of justice, a feeling that we should get what we deserve that goes against the grain of the message today. The last workers got the same wage, even though they only worked a fraction of the time. It’s not fair!
In reality, the story went beyond fairness. No worker was cheated. No worker was denied a fair and agreeable wage. The Master simply wanted to be generous out of concern and care for others.
The fact is, God is generous to all of us. There are moments when we have fallen short of the Lord’s justice through sin and temptation. Yet like the workers today, we receive God’s generosity even when we have not earned it. May we live accordingly.
Note: This blog was originally published on September 14, 2014.
Study: Recall a time when you received really good news. How did it affect your life?
Pray: Reflect on the blessings of your life – perhaps even make a list – and take a moment in your prayer to thank the Lord.
Serve: It’s easy to take our blessings for granted; look for a way to help someone in your life recognize the gifts they have been given.
There is a lot of Good News in the readings this week:
- 1st Reading – Elisha offers hope to an aging couple
- Psalm – “For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.”
- 2nd Reading – Paul reminds us that we have died and risen with Christ
- Gospel – Christ invites us to put Him first in our lives
As much as the world might try at times to make us think that bad news sells, deep in our hearts we long to hear Good News – words that inspire, give us hope, and energize our lives.
Good News reminds us that the Lord has a plan for our lives and invites us to trust as we make Jesus Christ the center of what we say and do. Good News is not “pie-in-the-sky” that says just hang on long enough as you’ll get your reward; rather, we keep going because every day (good or bad) has unique lessons that can draw us closer to God and one another. Good News proclaims that not only is there something fantastic at the end of the journey, but that the Lord himself will accompany us every step of the way.
Where do you see Good News in your life right now? Where have you recognized Jesus Christ at work in your life? Take a moment to thank the Lord for the blessings you have and help others to see the ways that they have been touched by God’s grace. In other words: proclaim the Good News!