Stuff. It’s all around us, and how we use it says a lot about our faith and values. May we call upon the Lord for the wisdom and guidance to use our possessions wisely and well.
Tag Archives: Relationships
Our relationships – with God and one another – form the framework of our lives. In light of the readings today we strive to heal those relationships that are broken and make even stronger those that are well.
Study: Think about a best friend or cherished family member. What qualities do you find particularly precious?
Pray: Is there a relationship in your life in need of healing? Ask the Lord for grace, wisdom, and guidance to make it happen.
Serve: Is there a relationship in your life that needs to be renewed? What can you do to strengthen the connection?
A thumbnail sketch of the readings this week looks something like this:
- 1st Reading – Abraham haggles with God over the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah
- Psalm – “Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.”
- 2nd Reading – We were buried in baptism and risen with Christ through his Cross
- Gospel – The Lord’s prayer, a friend & neighbor, and a father & son
In all of these readings we see the power of relationships at work touching hearts and changing lives. We are not meant to walk through this life (or the next) alone; rather, God calls us into communion and invites us to deepen the connections we have with the Lord and one another. Looking at it this way, the readings point out that a relationship with God makes many things possible:
- Abraham pleads and negotiates with God to try to save the people.
- The Psalmist proclaims the Lord’s help in time of trial.
- Our baptism connects us to Christ’s saving death & resurrection.
- We can call God “father” and request, give, and seek for what we need.
Our relationship with the Lord is made possible through Jesus. For remember, God makes it possible for us to draw near, and God invites us to enter into this very unequal relationship to raise us up as the Lord’s sons & daughters. We’ve been “allowed in” to this intimate and tender connection with Christ.
And thus we are called to strengthen our relationships in two distinct ways – with the Lord and with the people in our lives. That means we are called to consider how we might spend a little quality time building and strengthening our connections. With the Lord that means Prayer, Sacraments, Service, and a Call to Holiness. With other people it means forgiveness, charity, “wasting time” with loved ones in wholesome recreation, and seeking to bring out the best in one another.
And if something is wounded or broken…if a relationship is in need of healing – then ask the Lord for the grace to make it happen! Remember: the Lord calls us into relationships. May we take the gift of today to strengthen these connections in our lives.
Are you looking for some practical ways to transform your life? Do you long for something special, filled with power, purpose, and meaning? Fr. Andrew looks at 3 areas (Self, Others, God) and applies them to the ordinary and routine elements of daily life. This Theology on Tap presentation was given at Vintage Italian Pizza (VIP) in Superior, WI on October 22, 2015.
Study: Reflect on wounded relationships in your life. What needs to be done to bring them healing?
Pray: Ask the Lord for the grace to bring healing to the relationships in your life, especially where suffering has caused misunderstanding or fear has led to doubt and uncertainty.
Serve: Are there people in your life that are struggling in their relationships? How can you be a bridge that fosters unity and reconciliation?
Last week I focused on the personal nature of suffering. When we are in pain, when we hurt, we can easily focus on ourselves. This is not necessarily a bad thing; suffering can help us confront reality and strive for healing and wholeness. In our suffering we are aware of blessings that we may have taken for granted – our sight can become sharper as we realize the gifts that have been lavished upon us.
There is another dimension of suffering, however. Suffering commonly affects relationships; when one person suffers, it is often the case that others suffer as well. Consider the following:
- Physical suffering can keep us from human touch/contact
- Intellectual distress can cause us to lash out in doubt and misunderstanding
- Emotional anguish can prevent us from connecting with others because of fear and anger
- Spiritual suffering can obscure our values and beliefs with God and others
There are countless examples, but the point is clear – the pain and anguish a person suffers can directly affect relationships with God and one another. Suffering can become an obstacle that blocks us from the very persons who can bring healing and relief. Often the greatest wound from suffering is isolation: in our weakness we withdraw from the very people who can help us the most.
The 1st Reading, Responsorial Psalm, and Gospel today reveal both the obstacles of suffering and the bridges that God makes possible through healing grace. In the face of suffering the Lord comes, not just to bring healing to a person, but healing to the relationships among persons. God longs not only to renew our lives but the lives around us as well. Where suffering brings isolation the Lord brings unity – drawing us together in reconciliation and love.
This communal aspect of suffering thus begs two questions for our consideration:
- Is suffering affecting relationships in my life right now?
- How can I invite the Lord to bring healing/reconciliation?
When the Jesus healed the leper in the Gospel today, he did more than give the man back his health – he gave back his relationships as well. The man (formerly cut off from human society) is now restored to his family, his friendships, and his participation in the community. His life has been restored.
As we look to our own encounters with suffering we keep an eye to the ways in which our relationships are harmed/healed. May we call upon the grace of Christ to touch our lives, and bless the lives of those around us.