First Reading: 2 Thessalonians 1:1-5, 11-12
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 96
Gospel: Matthew 23:13-22
May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of us today!
One of my favorite movies is Remember the Titans. This is an amazing story of a football team who stands, and plays, together against the racial adversity of the culture at the time. During the movie we see a coach who is not only battling for a state title, but he battling to instil equality and community in his team. Obviously there are bumps in the road and they all take their licks along the way, but in the end they all come out on top...and still together. This story shows that when we come together for a good and common purpose and we persevere; then we can overcome whatever is in our path.
In the gospel today Jesus speaks of the scribes and the Pharisees as being hypocrites and obstacles to the Kingdom. Jesus tells them that they are blocking those who are trying to enter and that they are blind guides. Whoa, these are very harsh words for the main religious leaders of the community. Can you imagine what all the people of that community are thinking? They are probably wondering "well if the scribes and Pharisees are blocking our way and blindly leading, who can help us overcome this and show us the way?" I wonder how many of them knew that the answer was right in front of them...Jesus. Jesus can and will show us the way to His Kingdom, we just have to be willing to ask and trust Him.
Like the Titans, when we come together with a good leader to guide us, there is nothing that we cannot overcome. In the first reading today we are told of another "team" who has come together and persevered. In 2 Thessalonians, Paul is praising them for their faith. Look at why Paul praises them: "Accordingly, we ourselves boast of you in the churches of God regarding your endurance and faith in all your persecutions and the afflictions you endure. (v. 1:4)" As we all know many Christian communities throughout the church's history have undergone many trials and afflictions; while some have rose to the challenge others have not. But we see today that the people of the church of Thessalonica are doing us all proud and showing us how through adversity we should persevere so that "the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified. (v. 1:11)"
The Thessalonians like the Titans knew about adversity...in fact we all know about adversity. Jesus tells us about the adversity that the people of that time dealt with. We are all going to face things each day of our lives that will try and prevent us from reaching the Kingdom. May we be strengthened by each other so that together we may show our endurance and faith as those have before us. Let us give all glory to our Father in heaven and live out His calling for our lives.
Father above, we thank you for the gift of our lives. We thank you for the trials and afflictions that we go through, for through these we can come to know you better and to give you glory. We praise you for the many blessings in our lives and for the gift of each other. Lord, through you may we all come together to persevere and be strengthened in our communities and in the body. Lord let us help those who you call us to and pray for all those who are suffering. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.