Amazing Grace

Readings for Thursday September 18, 2008

First Reading:  1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 118
Gospel:  Luke 7:36-50

Most of us know the song "Amazing Grace" (on a side note check out the Chris Tomlinson version, it is fantastic!), and most of us probably just go about singing it on Sundays without thinking about the words.  I invite you to take a moment now to think about the some of the words of this song:  

"Amazing Grace how sweet the sound,  
That saved a wretch like me...
I once was lost but now am found.
Was blind, but now, I see.
Twas grace that taught...
my heart to fear
And grace, my fears relieved
How precious did, that grace appear...
the hour I first believed."
The words of this song scream out the message of today's readings.  Today's readings speak of the amazing grace that we are given by God.  But why are we given grace in the first place?  Why was the woman in the gospel today given grace?  Why was St. Paul who was originally a persecutor of Christians given grace?  To save them ... to lead them to God.  I believe that both St. Paul and the woman of today's gospel speak to us of God's grace and mercy in our lives.  

Grace is a free gift from God given to us for our salvation.  In Paul's letter, he tells the church of Corinth that; "by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective.  Indeed, I have toiled harder than all of them; not I, however, but the grace of God that is with me."  (1 Cor 15:10)  Paul recognizes and communicates to us that it is by God's grace he is who he is, as we all should recognize and communicate this.  God gives us the grace we need to serve Him in our lives.  God gives us grace so that way we can be drawn nearer to Him,  and so that we have what we need to be with Him at the end of our time here on earth.  The grace given by God has the power to save us from our old lives and old ways.  Grace was bestowed upon the woman today as Jesus forgave her of her sins.  Imagine how thankful she was at this moment.  Imagine how we all feel when we are touched by God's grace.  It is like the song, "How precious did, that grace appear...the hour I first believed."  

Grace is not something we can touch, taste, or smell.  But we know it is there when we believe.  It is sort of a mystery to us, and while we may not fully understand how exactly grace works; or we may not be able to give a good theological definition... we should simply understand that grace is meant to save us.  God gives us grace as a favor, as a gift, so that we can be saved.  I pray that we, like St. Paul and the woman of the gospel today, may accept God's grace in our lives, and allow Him to work in us.  For if we do that, then we can become the people that He created us to be.  

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. 

Father above, we thank you for your grace in our lives.  We thank you for the grace that we received during our conversion.  We pray for your continued grace in our lives.  Lord help strengthen us as servants of you, increase our faith so that we can continue to carry our crosses and follow you.  Lord, we pray for all those who are not allowing your grace to flow in their lives.  We pray that their hearts may be softened and your love be able to flood in.  We ask this all through Christ our Lord.  Amen.     


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