Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego walked in the fiery furnace with a fourth person who looked like a Son of God. During those times in our lives when we have been put to the test, may we trust that Christ walks with us as well.
John’s death vividly reveals the potential price tag for our faith. Yet we can find new strength to face the injustices of life through our conviction that we are made for more…in this life and in the life to come.
Terrified by a violent storm, the disciples call out to Jesus who immediately calms it. Storms are a part of life, and whether physical, emotional, psychological, relational or spiritual we find in the Lord a peaceful strength to face them with confidence and conviction.
In the Book of Hebrews we are reminded to treat our trials as discipline, something that Jesus encountered when he preached at Nazareth. As we live our faith today may we consider our struggles and difficulties as “homework for holiness” through which God strengthens our faith and renews us in grace.
Here are some key points that surface in the readings this week:
1st Reading – The Lord comes “to gather nations of every language.”
Psalm – “Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.”
2nd Reading – Consider difficulties and trials as “discipline” in the faith.
Gospel – People will come from east/west, north/south to recline in the Kingdom of God.
A crucial theme emerges from the first reading, psalm and Gospel around the global call to all nations to draw near to the kingdom of God. Language, race, color, and creed are not obstacles but rather variations of the diversity of God’s creation. Simply put, all people are called to draw near to the Lord. The invitation is open to everyone.
Of course, not everyone will listen and respond. Some will reject the message, others will get caught up in distractions, while still others will pursue things that are contrary to a life in Christ. Thus it is crucial to note that while all are invited, each person has the freedom to choose his or her own unique path in life.
The second reading to the Hebrews helps us to see the challenges of life as a form of discipline – where we face obstacles and grow stronger in God’s grace – which helps us grow as disciples. Here the focus is not that life will be easy, but rather that in our trials we draw closer to Jesus Christ and become more completely sons and daughters of God.
How is the Lord calling you today, and what will be your response? Where are the challenges in your life…and how will you respond? We recognize that God’s invitation and daily difficulties come to all of us. Today we reflect on how we respond to the Lord in a faithful, vibrant way.