12/03/2017 - "HE HAS SPOKEN TO US BY A SON!"
"HE HAS SPOKEN TO US BY A SON!"
This past Sunday, Jesus revealed to us what will be at the heart of the most important conversation of our lives: the conversation we will have with Him at the end of our lives. Our Lord also revealed that there are only two possible outcomes: we will either hear Him say, "Come!" or "Depart!" In that tremendous moment we will understand with all our being that how we've lived our lives, how we've responded to His grace will give rise to that one word we hear Him speak that indicates our Eternity!
Now, we know what is going to be at the heart of that most important conversation because Jesus truly spoke those words in the Gospel we heard and the Holy Spirit really inspired St. Matthew to write them down. Do you see how the Word of God is alive? God's Word is truly a lamp, a light for your life and it overflows with God's Goodness, Faithfulness, Power, and Sweetness!
Before we take a look at that important conversation with Jesus at the end of our lives, I want to offer you some keys on how to read Scripture with the hope that you will be inspired to dive into, to immerse yourself in Scripture.
SOME KEYS ON HOW TO READ SCRIPTURE
The first key comes from St. Paul's letter to the Hebrews, chapter 1. Paul is observing how the Lord God has spoken to us, His People, throughout all of Salvation History in many varied ways, but that in our days, in the fullness of time, He has spoken to us by a Son! So, as we approach God's Word, we do so always in light of all that Jesus has said and done. Hopefully all of you have already established a prayer corner in your homes or have made some steps towards realizing that special place in your home dedicated to prayer and hopefully you have also placed your Bible in a place of prominence in your prayer space. When you approach God's Word in your prayer space, and you can look upon a Crucifix or holy image, it will help remind you to listen to God's Word in light of all that Jesus has done for you.
Keeping in mind all that Jesus has said and done is helpful because it reminds us that the Lord God, who gave us the wonderful gift of the Bible, is not a cold, distant, or indifferent God. Every word, every prophecy, and every promise in the Bible has been fulfilled in God's Son who became man!
Our Lord also revealed to us that we stand in relation to the Most Holy Trinity as beloved sons and daughters. This is yet another key! When you approach God's Word, you always do so as a beloved son or daughter of a Good and Loving Father!
Jeff Cavins, in his Bible Study, which once again we'll be offering in January, offers us yet another key. Precisely because God's Word is alive and active, whenever the Lord speaks to us, He speaks to our heart, our mind, and our hands. This key is helpful because it helps us avoid the trap of treating God's Word as a text book or as a dead frog in biology class. Prayerfully reading Scripture is never a purely intellectual activity. Yes, absolutely, our Father speaks to our minds and we grow in understanding, but He is also speaking to our hearts and hands. The aspect of speaking to our hands casts light on the response that the Lord God looks for in our lives when we prayerfully listen to His Word!
THE HEART OF THE MOST IMPORTANT CONVERSATION OF YOUR LIFE
In Matthew 25, Jesus reveals what is going to be at the heart of that most important conversation of our lives. When you and I die, and we stand before Him, we will see the most beautiful thing we've ever seen, the countenance of Jesus! And in that moment, we will see our entire lives, all the different circumstances, situations, and most especially all the different relationships that have made up our lives and the one thing that our Lord will ask of us is: how have you loved?
Now, I don't know about you, but I don't want to be at a loss for words when Jesus asks me that question! As Jesus shows us the different relationships of our lives: spouses, parents, children, cousins, in-laws, neighbors, co-workers, bosses, people we meet on the streets, He is going to show us how He is hungering and thirsting for our love through them.
It is not surprising that Jesus wants to speak to us about love at the end of our lives. During the Last Supper, He gave us the New Commandment that we are to love one another as He has loved us. It might be surprising in that moment when we realize how intimately Jesus has united Himself to every man, woman, and child. He is not only the creator of all men; He is also the redeemer of all men. He shed His blood on the Cross for all.
Let us be encouraged by Matthew 25: Jesus, ultimately, in all the moments of our lives, is asking us for our love. Even in those moments when we have absolutely nothing to give, the one thing we have, our love, is all that He desires!
How can we respond to this proclamation of the Gospel? Our hands! Jesus is inviting all of us to take a step forward. For some of us, we might be ready for a little baby step. We might start becoming concerned about a neighbor, praying for them, and looking for opportunities to bring joy by a smile or kind word, and to help in ways that are possible for us. For others, we might just be ready to jump all in: I am going to live my life for Jesus! I am going to strive to love all as He loves!
The whole point of our homily series, "The Love of Christ Urges Us On", is to offer everyone, every Sunday, many opportunities to encounter Jesus, to grow in their relationship with Him, so that we might begin to joyfully bear witness to the Good News of Jesus!
As a shepherd leads his flock, the Lord has led us here on this First Sunday of Advent. I wish you a great week. Let's continue to pray for each other.