Readings for Friday September 11, 2009
First Reading: 1 Timothy 1:1-2, 12-14
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 16
Gospel: Luke 6:39-42
I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry. I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man, but I have been mercifully treated because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief. Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. (1 Tim 1:12-14)
In today first reading, Paul kind of lays out his previous mistakes. He tells us of how he was a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man; not exactly the qualifications for a man of the year award. But Paul realizes, as we all should, that he was mercifully treated. God showed Paul great mercy and entrusted on him a great responsibility. Paul realizes that it is only because of God's grace that he has come out of his old life and into the new.
Paul shows us that with God's grace anything is possible, especially turning such an enemy of the church into one of its most zealous ministers. I can definitely understand Paul's thankfulness and humility when he credits God for the changes in his life. I too once lived a good portion of my life working hard to keep God out. I didn't have anything against people of faith (although I did kind of think that most Christians were a bit over the top), I simply didn't think that a faith life was for me. If you would have told me 5 years ago that I would someday soon turn my life over to Christ and be a Catholic trying desperately to live his life serving God; I would have laughed in your face. God really does work in mysterious ways.
We must remember that there are those out there that are so far from God that it may seem like there is no hope for them. God's grace is abundant, and there is anyone that He cannot reach. It is so important for us to not give up on those are not close to God or that we view as enemies of the church. If God's mercy and grace can bring Paul to conversion, then there is hope for all of us.
Father above, we thank you and praise you for this day. Lord, we pray for all those who persecute us and for all those who are turned away from you. Lord, you are the source of life and joy, we pray that we can continue to follow you with courage in this life and to help lead others to you. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.