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Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)
“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10:37–39
Clearly, this saying is a play on words that is meant to make you pause and think. It’s almost like a holy and sacred riddle, spoken by Jesus to get your attention and to communicate a very deep and foundational truth about how you are to live. Essentially, this saying teaches that those who live in a selfish, self-centered way do not accomplish their goal. The goal of those who are selfish is to elevate themselves with the thinking that this is what is best for them. But Jesus clearly points out that when you live selfishly, seeking to put yourself above others, you lose what is most important in life. You lose your very soul. On the contrary, if you live selflessly, putting others before you, it is in this act that you actually find your true purpose in life and fulfill yourself on the deepest level.
Think, for example, of Jesus. He is God, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, existing for eternity in perfect union with the Father and the Holy Spirit. His soul radiates pure love. And for that reason, He chose to become human, suffer greatly and be killed. Was that fulfilling to our Lord? Most certainly. Why? Because His sacrifice went to the heart of Who He is. He is Love itself. And love is always self-giving. It is always fulfilling. It always seeks the good of the other. Love fulfills the lover when it is pure, holy, selfless and total. Jesus’ sacrificial death on the Cross not only redeemed us, but it also manifested the Son of God’s own perfect fulfillment and satisfaction in His human nature because His death was an act of pure love.
Sin confuses us. Selfishness especially clouds our thinking. As a result, it becomes difficult to clearly see that the way to fulfillment in life is by the complete and unwavering sacrifice of our lives given to others, in imitation of and in union with Jesus’ perfect sacrifice. The moment that sin leads us to think first about ourselves, we begin to become blind to who we are and what makes us truly fulfilled.
Reflect, today, upon the divine mission you have been given to lose yourself for the sake of Christ, which is for the sake of true love. By loving God and others in this pure way, selflessly, you become who you are and who you were created to be. You find yourself only by choosing to lose yourself in this world. Ponder this deep mystery and believe it. Once you do believe it, commit to live sacrificially, casting aside every doubt, so that you will never hesitate to love everyone sacrificially. For in that radical act of selfless love, you will discover and become who you were created to be.
My sacrificial Lord, You are not only the perfect model of human love, Your sacrificial love is the source of human fulfillment itself. Please give me the grace I need to love all people in a perfect and selfless way and, in that act, also discover and become who I was made to be. Jesus, I trust in You.
The Faith of Jairus
Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. At that they were utterly astounded. He gave strict orders that no one should know this and said that she should be given something to eat. Mark 5:41–43
Jairus was the leader of the synagogue in Capernaum. In that position, he would have been pressured to be in opposition to Jesus. But his daughter was ill, and his daughter was more important to him than the opinions of the other religious leaders of the time. So he humbly came to Jesus by himself, fell at Jesus’ feet and pleaded with Him to heal his daughter.
Jairus makes two acts of faith in Jesus. The first was his request that Jesus heal his infirmed daughter. But the second took even more faith. On the journey with Jesus to see his daughter, he received the sorrowful news that his daughter had died. Jesus’ response to this was to turn to Jairus and say, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” Clearly, Jairus responded to this command of love with faith and trusted that Jesus could even raise his daughter from the dead.
As you ponder the faith of Jairus, consider this interior tension he must have been experiencing. He was tempted by the political and peer pressure of the scribes and Pharisees who opposed Jesus. He was tempted to despair while his daughter’s illness became increasingly worse. And when he heard she had died, he would have been tempted even more to despair when faced with the apparent fact that Jesus was too late. But he didn’t give in to these temptations. He remained in hope and trust.
When Jesus arrived at Jairus’ home, He saw many people who were “weeping and wailing loudly.” When Jesus questioned their acts of despair, He said to them, “The child is not dead but asleep.” But upon hearing this, they ridiculed Him. Clearly, the other people present did not have the hope and the faith that Jairus had. Therefore, it is also helpful to prayerfully meditate upon the contrast of Jairus and the others present.
The story concludes with Jesus raising the girl from the dead. He then told those present to keep this miracle quiet. Jesus did not heal her to gain fame. He did not heal her to prove to the people who were despairing and without faith that they were wrong. Instead, He primarily healed her on account of the faith manifested by the girl’s father.
Finally, Jesus’ divine love shining through His humanity is clearly seen when He says that “she should be given something to eat.” Jesus did not stand there expecting praise from those present. Rather, His loving compassion shone through as He expressed His concern that this little girl must have been hungry. His love led Him to address this minor detail.
Reflect, today, upon how you would have acted were you Jairus. What would you have done in the face of spiritual and moral opposition? Would you have turned to our Lord in trust and confidence? And when all human hope seemed lost, would you have maintained your trust in our Lord? Pray that the faith and hope of Jairus will inspire you, and commit yourself to follow his holy example.
My compassionate Lord, You responded to the faith of this loving father, Jairus, with mercy and compassion. You encouraged Him to trust and were attentive to every detail. Please give me a similar faith so that I will never despair in life but always keep my hope in You. Jesus, I trust in You.
Unity Within the Church
Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)
On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village. Luke 9:52–56
The passage above begins the section of Luke’s Gospel commonly referred to as “The Journey to Jerusalem: Luke’s Travel Narrative” (Luke 9:51–19:27). In this first stop on their journey to Jerusalem, the Samaritans refused hospitality to Jesus and the disciples because of the ongoing bitterness between the Jews and the Samaritans. When James and John experienced this hostility, they asked Jesus, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” Clearly, they took the rejection of the Samaritans personally, and, out of their hurt and anger, they sought revenge.
The Samaritans were descendants of mixed marriages between Jews and Gentiles that took place in the eighth century B.C. during the Assyrian captivity. They lived in the territory in between Galilee and Jerusalem. They were generally hostile toward the Jews in Jerusalem, in large part because the Jews believed that the Temple in Jerusalem was the only place to offer sacrifice, while the Samaritans built their own temple on Mount Gerizim. The Samaritans also mixed their practice of the Mosaic Law with various other beliefs, contrary to Jewish practices. Thus, even though both groups sought to worship the same God, their differences led to ongoing rejection of each other and hostility.
When Jesus was invited to join in this hostility, He rejected it. Jesus was not saying that the Jews were right in their belief, nor was He saying that the Samaritans were right. Rather, He was simply saying that He would have no part in their ongoing bitterness. Recall, also, in John’s Gospel that the woman at the well was a Samaritan and that Jesus was very compassionate toward her. He ultimately gave her “Living Water” to quench her spiritual thirst—much to her surprise and much to the surprise of the other Samaritans.
One important lesson we can take from Jesus’ treatment of the Samaritans is that bitterness, anger, a desire for revenge and indignation at others is completely contrary to His will. This is especially useful to ponder when we encounter divisions within the Church. It’s certainly a sad fact that there are various factions at times within the Church. And though it might be the case that some of those divisions come about as a result of errors on the part of one group or another, bitterness, attacks, anger and indignation must always be avoided. And when we look at the Church today as a whole, it is clear that many people fall into the same temptation that James and John fell into. There are many who wish to “call down fire from heaven to consume” the other. When that happens, you can be certain that the response from our Lord in Heaven will be the same today as it was when attempted by James and John. Jesus’ response will be to rebuke the angry and critical party. Indignation at others, especially toward those within the Church, is not inspired by God. Therefore, we must flee from such foolishness whenever that temptation comes.
Reflect, today, upon any way that you have been drawn into some conflict with other members of the Church, even if it is only an interior conflict of anger. Have you taken sides and desired to call down fire from Heaven upon them? If so, learn from this lesson taught to these disciples. Leave judgment to God and seek to offer only compassion and charity. Seek the mercy that brings about unity. Though we must never compromise on the Truth so as to bring about a false sense of unity, we must never embrace hostility toward another on account of our wounded pride. Think about anyone or any group of people within the Church that you have indignation toward and pray that you will be given the mind and Heart of our Lord to see them as He sees them.
My loving Lord, You continually sought to reconcile all people to Yourself and to Your Father. You never allowed irrational anger to bring about further division. Please give me the grace I need to imitate Your compassionate Heart so as to be an instrument of the unity You desire. Jesus, I trust in You.
Wherever God Leads You
Monday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
“Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” Matthew 8:19–20
It is unclear from this passage alone why Jesus answered this scribe the way He did. At first, the statement of the scribe seems very devout: “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” But many of the Church Fathers, in their reflections of this conversation between Jesus and the scribe, offer helpful insights.
First of all, note that Jesus neither accepts the proposal of the scribe to be His follower nor rejects it. Rather, Jesus simply makes a statement which clarifies just what is involved in being His follower. Some Church Fathers suggest that this scribe was desirous of following Jesus because he thought there would be great rewards given to him by doing so. After all, Jesus was a miracle worker, was becoming quite popular, and showed potential to be a great leader. Therefore, the interior motivation of this scribe to follow Jesus wherever Jesus went was a questionable motivation. Did he want to follow Jesus because he thought it would benefit him in some worldly way?
Jesus’ response to this scribe does two things. First, it removes all misconceptions of what it means to follow Jesus. If the scribe wanted to follow Jesus, then he had to be prepared to follow Him into poverty and homelessness rather than riches and possessions. Jesus wanted it to be clear to the scribe just what he was choosing. Secondly, Jesus’ response was certainly an invitation to the scribe to follow Him, but only in the light of this new knowledge. In other words, Jesus was saying, “Yes, come follow me. But be aware of what that means. Following me will not result in your earthly riches but in your earthly poverty.”
Why do you follow Jesus? It’s important to consider your motivations at times. Some choose to follow Jesus because this was simply the way they were raised. Others do so because it makes them feel better to do so. And still others do so because they think it will make their lives better in various ways. But what is the ideal motivation for following our Lord? The ideal motivation for following Jesus in a total and unwavering way is very simple: we follow Him because He is the Son of God and the Savior of the World. Jesus came to call us to Himself and has invited us to live in union with Him through faith. So ideally, we will follow Jesus simply because it is the right thing to do. We will not do so because of the so-called benefits. Love, in its purest form, does not love the other because of what we get out of it. Pure love is a gift given to another because they are worthy of our love. And with Jesus, He is worthy of our love and worship simply because of Who He is.
Reflect, today, upon Jesus inviting you to follow Him into poverty, detachment from all, simplicity of life and ultimately the sacrifice of your entire life. Do you understand what it means to be a follower of Christ Jesus? Do you understand that following Jesus cannot be done for selfish reasons? Do you realize that saying “Yes” to our Lord is saying “Yes” to His Cross? Ponder Jesus’ life and reflect upon whether or not you are willing to follow Him to the poverty of the Cross. If you can make the choice to follow our Lord, knowing full well what you are saying “Yes” to, then the end result will also be a glorious sharing in His resurrected life.
My glorious Lord, You walked through this world in poverty, rejection and suffering. You had no earthly home of Your own but now live in the riches of Heaven. Help me to follow You, dear Lord, wherever You lead me in this life. If You lead me to worldly poverty and suffering, I thank You. I thank You and choose to follow You no matter what. Give me the grace I need to follow You purely out of love for You, for You are God and are worthy of all my praise and worship. Jesus, I trust in You.
Save Us Lord!
Tuesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him. Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but he was asleep. Matthew 8:23–24
This experience had quite an impression upon the disciples, which is evidenced by the fact that it is recorded in all three Synoptic Gospels. We also see this in the concluding words of the story after Jesus calmed the storm: “The men were amazed and said, ‘What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey?’”
Traditionally, this story has been interpreted as both an image of the Church as a whole, as well as the individual soul. The boat is an image of the Church through which we Christians navigate the perils of this life. We must remain in the Church to survive. Each person within the boat represents each one of us who is a member of the Church. The violent storm is an image of the many personal struggles we endure in life, as well as the persecutions that the Church has endured and will continue to endure until the end of time.
As the storm took hold of the boat, Jesus was asleep. But He was asleep for a reason. As we look at human history, especially the history of the Church, we find many times when God has seemed absent or “asleep” when turmoil, persecution, and hardship have arisen. Many people, if not all, have had the same experience at one time or another in life. As the disciples experience this storm, they offer us an ideal way to pray when we are tempted to despair in life. They wake Jesus and say, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” And though Jesus rebukes them for their lack of faith and their fear, He also responds to their pleas and calms the storm.
What should the disciples have done in this case? Should they have trusted and allowed Jesus to remain asleep? Though our Lord did rebuke them for lacking faith, this story is primarily a revelation about God’s mercy when we are tempted to fear. God knows that at times we will all feel overwhelmed and find ourselves tempted in this way. He knows our faith is not perfect, and so He allowed His disciples to set this example for us. Thus, whenever we do find ourselves overwhelmed and fearful in life, we should cry out to Him to save us. He wants us to turn to Him.
Reflect, today, upon this prayer of the disciples. If you find that you are facing some personal crisis, or a larger family difficulty that remains unresolved, or are increasingly aware of other struggles afflicting the Church or society as a whole, then try to imitate this prayer of the disciples: “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” Though these words, at first, may seem to be words of despair, they are actually words of hope and trust. They point us to Him Who is the only source of the peace we seek in our souls, families, the Church and our world. Look for the many ways that you and others experience the feeling of “perishing,” and cry out with all your heart to our Lord to save you and all who are in need.
Most powerful Lord, I am amazed at Your divine power and ability to perfectly calm the storms that afflict Your people. Please fill me with hope and humility so that I will never hesitate to turn to You in my need and to also cry out to You for Your continuous intervention in the lives of others. Awake, oh Lord, and save Your people, for we will truly perish without You! Jesus, I trust in You.
Rejoicing in the Goodness of Others
Wednesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
The swineherds ran away, and when they came to the town they reported everything, including what had happened to the demoniacs. Thereupon the whole town came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him they begged him to leave their district. Matthew 8:33–34
Why would “the whole town” beg Jesus to leave their district as a result of Jesus delivering two of their fellow townsmen from demons? This event took place on the northeast edge of the Sea of Galilee near a town of the Gadarenes who were not of Jewish background, which accounts for the fact that there was such a large herd of swine (the Jewish people did not eat pork). Two of the Gadarenes were possessed by demons, and Scripture reports that “They were so savage that no one could travel by that road.” And when Jesus delivers them from this awful plight, instead of rejoicing in gratitude, the townspeople begged Jesus to leave.
Saint Jerome says that it is possible that the people were actually acting in humility, in that they did not consider themselves worthy to be in the presence of someone as great as Jesus. Like Saint Peter who fell at the feet of Jesus and cried out, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8), these townspeople may have been in such awe at what Jesus did for them that they did not see themselves as being worthy of His presence. However, other Church Fathers point out that it is more likely that these townspeople signify those who are stuck in their life of sin and do not want to come face-to-face with the Gospel or with the Person of Jesus. They prefer to close their ears to the truth and to remain in their life of ignorance and sin.
It’s also helpful to reflect upon the relationship between the townspeople and these two demoniacs. Ideally, when the townspeople saw these two men completely freed of the demons who tormented them, they would have rejoiced in a way similar to the way the father of the Prodigal Son rejoiced when his son returned to him. Sadly, in this case, there seems to be a tremendous lack of excitement by their fellow townsmen over the freedom these two demoniacs experienced. This shows a clear lack of love for these two men within the town. Perhaps many of the townspeople took a twisted form of pleasure in their mockery of these two men over the years, and they enjoyed telling stories about how crazy they were. Now, they were faced with these two men who were completely changed, and they may have found it difficult to speak well of them because of their pride.
This negative example set by these townspeople gives us an opportunity to reflect upon how we think about and treat those who have changed their ways and have turned from evil to good. Perhaps you have a family member who has sincerely tried to change. Or perhaps someone at work, a neighbor or some other acquaintance has gone from a life of sin to a life seeking virtue. The real question to ponder is whether you rejoice over the goodness of others, over their ongoing conversion and pursuit of holiness, or whether you struggle with truly expressing joy as you see people you know change for the good. It’s often very easy to criticize but much more difficult to rejoice in the holy transformation of another.
Reflect, today, upon those in your life, those close to you and those with whom you are mere acquaintances, who have been set free by our Lord in some way and have moved from a life of sin toward a life of virtue. How do you react to them? Are you able to sincerely rejoice in the goodness of others? Or do you find yourself struggling with jealousy, anger, envy and the like? As you do see the goodness of God at work in others, try to put on the mentality suggested by Saint Jerome above. Allow yourself to be in awe of God’s action in their lives. As you do, humble yourself before the transforming power of God, admitting that you are not worthy to witness His transforming power but rejoice in gratitude nonetheless.
My all-powerful Lord, You overcame the power of the evil one and cast demons from these two men who suffered through this oppression for many years. Give me the eyes I need to see You at work in our world and to joyfully bear witness to Your transforming action in the lives of others. May I always humble myself before Your saving actions and learn to express true gratitude for all that You do. Jesus, I trust in You.
Priorities in Prayer
Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
After entering a boat, Jesus made the crossing, and came into his own town. And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.” Matthew 9:1–2
Just prior to this passage, Jesus cast out demons from two men from the town of the Gadarenes. Afterwards, the townspeople told Him to leave their town, so Jesus departed by boat and arrived in Capernaum, which was where He had been living after leaving Nazareth. This encounter with a paralytic on a stretcher is what awaited Him when He disembarked from the boat.
Recall that when Jesus had returned to Nazareth, where He grew up, He was not able to perform any miracles there because of their lack of faith. Their familiarity with Him tempted them to disbelieve that He was someone special. But now, in His new town where He had recently moved to, Jesus was able to perform mighty miracles because the people had manifest faith.
In the passage above, try to enter the scene. Jesus was just rejected by the Gadarenes, He came by boat to Capernaum, He disembarked and was immediately met with a group of people who had clearly been waiting for Him. Try to imagine their conversations while Jesus was away at the other side of the lake. They knew He would return to His new home, they prepared a stretcher for the paralytic, and then they waited, hoped and prayed that Jesus would come and heal the man. It is also clear that Jesus could immediately sense their faith and was deeply touched by it. One of the most important parts of this passage is that Jesus did not simply say “Yes” to the physical healing and leave it at that. Instead, His response to the paralytic was to first forgive his sins. There is an important lesson for us to learn from this which will help us know how best to pray.
Oftentimes when we pray, we pray for this or that favor from our Lord. We pray for what we want Jesus to grant us. But this story shows us that what Jesus wants for us is different. First, He wants to grant us forgiveness for our sins. This is His priority, and it should also be ours. Once the forgiveness of sins takes place with this paralytic, Jesus also heals, as proof of His power to forgive sins. This story should help us to order our priorities in prayer according to Jesus’ priorities. If we make sorrow for sin our first priority, we can be certain that Jesus will answer us. From there, Jesus knows all of our needs. We can present them to Him but only when we are reconciled within our own heart with Him.
Reflect, today, upon the way you pray each day. Try to understand the importance of making a daily examination of your sins. This must become the first and most important part of your daily prayer. Though many people do not like to look at sin, it is much easier to do when the focus is not so much the sin as it is a focus upon the mercy of forgiveness and spiritual healing you need. The more aware you become of your daily sin, the more mercy you will receive. And the more mercy for the forgiveness of your sins you receive, the more our Lord will be able to bless you abundantly in other ways. Always start with the mercy of our Lord and your own need for that mercy every day, and all else will be taken care of by our Lord.
My merciful Lord, You desire reconciliation with me, in the innermost depths of my heart, to be my daily priority in prayer. You desire to forgive and to heal me so that I will grow closer to You. Please do forgive me for my sins, dear Lord, and help me to become more attentive to the ways that I sin against You and others every day. Thank You in advance for this saving grace and mercy. Jesus, I trust in You.
Dining with Sinners
Friday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” Matthew 9:12–13
Would you describe yourself as one who is “well” or one who is “sick?” Are you among the “righteous” or the “sinners?” Be careful how you answer this question. Of course, the pride that comes with our fallen human nature often tempts us to claim that we are “well” and “righteous.” But humility will reveal the truth that we are among the “sick” and “sinners.”
This statement of Jesus is a response to the Pharisees who noticed that Jesus was dining at the house of Matthew, the tax collector, whom He had just called to follow Him. Matthew did indeed leave everything behind and followed Jesus, and then he hosted dinner for Jesus at his house. At that dinner, there were “many tax collectors and sinners” who came and sat with Jesus and His disciples, which led the Pharisees to ridicule them all.
Jesus’ response is very important for us to hear. By stating that He came not for those who were well and righteous but for those who were sick and sinners, it tells us two important things. First, it tells us that we are all spiritually sick and sinful. Second, it tells us that if we cannot humbly admit to that, and in our pride claim that we are well and are righteous, then we essentially reject Jesus, the Divine Physician, from our lives. We essentially say, “Lord, I do not need You.”
It’s also helpful to notice that Jesus was not embarrassed to be seen with sinners. He did not hesitate at all and, in fact, clearly stated that they were those whom He came for. For that reason, we should not be afraid or embarrassed to admit we are sinners who are spiritually ill and in need of our Lord. To deny that fact is to deny reality and to deny the very source of the ongoing healing we most certainly need in life. It’s a denial of our need for Christ Jesus Himself.
Do you need our Lord? Do you need interior cleansing, healing, and forgiveness every day? If it’s difficult for you to wholeheartedly say “Yes” to that question, then perhaps you struggle with the pride of the Pharisees more than you know. No matter how holy you become, no matter how deeply you pray and no matter how charitable you are, you will always need the healing and forgiveness of the Divine Physician each and every day.
Reflect, today, upon the need you have in your life today for forgiveness. What sin do you struggle with the most? Interestingly, the holier one becomes, the more clearly they see their daily sins and their need for forgiveness and healing. If you struggle with this at all, spend time examining your conscience. Look for ways to do it more thoroughly and honestly. If you do, you can be certain that our Lord, the Divine Physician, will deeply desire to dine with you today and always.
My forgiving Lord, You are the Divine Physician Who has come to forgive and heal all of our ills. Remove my pride and self-righteousness so that I can be filled with humility and see clearly the sin in my life. As I see my sin, help me to turn to You and to trust in Your abundant mercy. You came for sinners, dear Lord, and I am one of those sinners in need. Jesus, I trust in You.
The Newness of Grace
Saturday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
“No one patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth, for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse. People do not put new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.” Matthew 9:16–17
The parable above teaches us that even if someone were to faithfully understand and live the authentic Law that was given through Moses and the prophets, Jesus’ new teaching of grace, the New Law, was so different that it was not simply an improvement of the old, it completely replaced it. Furthermore, many of the customs taught by the Pharisees were unfaithful representations of the Law of Moses. They had deviated from the Law’s meaning and replaced it with their own scrupulous and erroneous multiplication of external practices. Thus, Jesus’ New Law needed to break away from these deviations completely.
To use a modern example, if you were to have an old phone that had become obsolete or stopped working, you wouldn’t buy a new phone so as to remove various parts from it to try to add those parts to the old phone to fix it. Instead, you use the new phone as a complete replacement for the old one.
A central quality of the New Law of grace is that it is entirely new and transforming. Therefore, by embracing this New Law, we become entirely new creations in Christ. Grace doesn’t simply patch that which is weak and sinful in us. It transforms us, elevating our human nature to an entirely new existence. This teaching is not only directed at the misguided teachings that the Pharisees had developed over the years, it was directed at human life itself. Not only were the Jewish customs to go through a transformation, humanity itself was to go through a transformation. Everything is made new in Christ.
This teaching applies just as much to us today as it did to the Jewish people of old. Today, we not only receive the new life of grace in Baptism, but we also receive it anew and share in this ongoing transforming renewal every time we allow grace to touch us more deeply and transform us more fully into the people God wants us to be. The “new patch” and the “new wine” are always transforming, and we must look forward to this newness throughout our lives.
Reflect, today, upon the joyful discovery that awaits you every day. Discovering the New Law of grace, accepting it into your life, and allowing it to transform you will set you on a path of discovery that will never get old. It is an ongoing discovery that is far greater than anything this world has to offer. Nothing can ever compare to the gift of God alive in our lives. It will never get old. It will always be transforming. And it will always be new. Ponder this gift God offers you today and say “Yes” to it with all your heart.
My transforming Lord, You continuously offer to renew me, transform me and elevate me to the life of grace. I thank You for this Gift and desire to accept it with all my heart. May I always be ready and willing to say “Yes” to You and the transformation that awaits me as I discover this ever new treasure of Your Grace. Jesus, I trust in You.
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