Holy moly – it’s Thursday already! Time flies when you’re having fun – or when you’re behind the eight ball at work and just can’t seem to catch up. I got a bit of a reprieve yesterday when the bid I was working on (scheduled to be turned in this morning at 10AM) got extended to the 22nd. Praise the Lord and pass the potato’s!
Good news to pass on this morning. One of the people who I’ve asked for you pray – David, found out yesterday that his latest CT Scan showed a net 6% reduction in the cancer. The best part about hearing this was the positive nature that he sent the message to his family – praising the Lord and His Savior! We should all be so brave. Please keep David and his family in your prayers – the Lord has heard them and has helped David.
Want some more good news? I know – that’s a loaded question – of course you do. Take time to read and meditate on our readings for the day. When reflecting on the first reading, I reflected on the continual argument of faith and works, so I went to the footnotes for this reading and rather than me try and explain what Paul was writing to the Romans (but not just the Romans – he was writing this to me and to you and to whoever else takes the time to read this)…
* [3:21–31] These verses provide a clear statement of Paul’s “gospel,” i.e., the principle of justification by faith in Christ. God has found a means of rescuing humanity from its desperate plight: Paul’s general term for this divine initiative is the righteousness of God (Rom 3:21). Divine mercy declares the guilty innocent and makes them so. God does this not as a result of the law but apart from it (Rom 3:21), and not because of any merit in human beings but through forgiveness of their sins (Rom 3:24), in virtue of the redemption wrought in Christ Jesus for all who believe (Rom 3:22, 24–25). God has manifested his righteousness in the coming of Jesus Christ, whose saving activity inaugurates a new era in human history.
So how to we gain justification? By faith in Christ! How do I, guilty of sin, become innocent? God’s divine Mercy declares me innocent and makes it so! I do not gain God’s favor thru MY works but thru His works. So can I live a life of sin and still gain eternal life? I believe the answer to that is Yes. But I also believe that if I truly want to see God in all His glory after I die, I must live my life in imitation of Christ’s life. I must constantly seek God’s forgiveness and divine Mercy because by my human nature I am a sinner; but in order for others to find Christ and that divine Mercy, I must do my best to live a life that will bring people to God, so they to can find that divine Mercy and they too can then live a life that brings even more people to that divine Mercy. It’s like Amway in a divine sense.
The Response Psalm offers more insight on God’s loving Grace…
With the Lord is forgiveness and fullness of redemption.
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
LORD, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to my voice in supplication.
If you, O LORD, mark iniquities,
Lord, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
that you may be revered.
I trust in the LORD;
my soul trusts in his word.
My soul waits for the LORD
more than sentinels wait for the dawn.
When reading and reflecting on this Psalm this morning, the Holy Spirit guided my thoughts to my responsibilities as a father to my children. One quick story. I’ve always told my children to be truthful to me, especially when they’ve done something that they know is wrong; lying to me about what happened will only make the matters worse. I believe every household in the world has a standard policy of NOT playing ball in the house. Why? Because it avoids something (that is precious to Mom) getting broken, obviously. We all have that policy and any of us who have children, know that policy has been broken more than once. So we had lived in our house for a couple of years and decided to put on a family room addition to the back of the house. My wife loves windows, so in the new family room, we have double windows on all three of the exterior walls. I was hard at work one day and I came home to find my two older sons greeting me at the door, which never happens, telling me how excited they were to have me home – which again, never happens. It turns out that my youngest son decided to grab a bat out of the garage and play home run derby in the new family room. Did he use a nerf ball to hit? Nope. Did he use a tennis ball? Again, nope. He thought it would be better if he used one of my GOLF balls because he liked the sound it made off the aluminum bat. Well I don’t have to finish this story for you to know what happened. He hit a home run off of one of my new triple pane, highly efficient and expensive new windows and cracked it from top to bottom. My two boys were more than willing to share this story with me because they knew the family was about to shrink to 7 kids and they couldn’t wait to see that happen. I called Tony in and asked what happened and he told me what he did. Funny thing about Tony, even when he does something he knows is completely wrong, he won’t stray from the truth for fear of what might happen. So he told me everything and when he finished, you could see the tears growing in my two older sons eyes – partly because they were going to miss their brother and partly because they were giddy with laughter thinking how dumb is this kid to tell the truth like that?!!? So when Tony finished his story, I simply said. “I hope you learned an important lesson.” Then I grounded him until he was old enough to move out of the house!! I jest – I never asked if he learned anything important. I jest again. The reason I share that with you is that God is so much more loving than I am. Yes, I did forgive Tony for hitting the golf ball against the window. God would have done the same thing. But what I did after that, to act as a reminder of not playing ball in the house, is took duct tape and taped the crack in the window instead of replacing it. Come over to my house today and that duct tape is still on it some 10+ years later. God would have replaced the window and left no reminder of the wrong done. All that rambling to prove the point that with the Lord there is forgiveness AND fullness of redemption. If you O Lord mark inequities, if you O Lord put duct tape on windows, who could stand. That is why I love the Lord – he forgives all the wrongs I do when I go to Him in the confessional and profess to Him my sins. He wipes the slate clean and our sins are completely forgiven.
That my friends is good news; that my friends is great news.
Do something great for our Lord today – replace that window with duct tape on it. Forgive those who have done you wrong completely, just as our loving Father would. I guess I know what my job is these next couple of days.
God’s will, not mine, be done.
Be not afraid; just have faith.
Jesus, I trust in You.
He must increase; I must decrease.
But you, man of God, pursue righteousness,
devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.
Compete well for the faith.