Isaiah 25:6-10a; Ps 23:1-6; Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20; Matthew 22:1-10
Holy Spirit, please enlighten our the eyes of our mind to see how Jesus, our Shepherd, leads us to your truth, vision and clarity. God sent his Son into our world to correct the misdirection of our lives and world. Through Jesus and their Holy Spirit, they want to provide for us and keep us going in the right direction to happiness forever in heaven.
Wednesday night I finished guiding a small group of deacon candidates and other disciples of Jesus in the Gospel of St. John and the Book of Revelation. In the Gospel, John shows us Jesus gathering, healing and teaching students about the good news and empowering them as missionaries for the world.
Then Jesus shows them that he has to die on the cross to take away our sins. After his redeeming death, Jesus came back to life radiant and glorified in a transformed human body. This proved that his Father accepted his sacrifice on our behalf. Jesus then empowered his followers at Pentecost to go into the whole world to announce his love in power.
Visions in Revelation
In the Book of Revelation, the heavenly angels come from heaven to earth to seal and protect Jesus’ followers. They destroy satan and all his dark followers. The faithful followers of Jesus are led into God’s heaven. The visions of the heavenly kingdom are beautiful. The visions were given by God to encourage us in our battle against the darkness and inspire us to remain faithful to Christ. All evil is destroyed and the faithful sons and daughters live in bliss forever.
We have a glimpse of our faith’s mystery in today’s readings. God blesses and provides for those on his holy mountain. St. Paul today reminds us that God will fully supply whatever we need. And the Gospel speaks of the special guest for a great wedding feast that refused to attend. God’s servants were sent out to gather all they could find, the good and bad, to come to the feast.
My main delight this week is Psalm 23, the famous Shepherd Psalm. I want to expand it a little with more insights. Jesus is our Shepherd. We want to stay closely connected to Jesus every day. Jesus wants to lead us to rich pastures and give us refreshing divine waters. We can see this as his forgiveness of our sins.
As our Shepherd, Jesus is the light keeping us on his right path. Even though we may seem to be in dark and hurtful experiences Jesus is always by our side. This knowledge brings us courage because Jesus and his angels are fending off much evil from us.
The banquet table of the Mass
Then Jesus brings us to his banquet table, the highest form of our prayer. He feeds us with the finest bread and choicest wine, which is his body and blood in communion at Mass. This is our greatest spiritual food. This is a great food, yet a seemingly disguised meal. Jesus anoints us and fills us with some of his divine power and sends us out into the world to bless and lead others to Christ.
The last section of the psalm speaks of the Shepherd’s goodness and kindness. Life does not always seem like a “bed of lovely roses.” The older non-genetically modified roses also have thorns. Yet the Lord is always with us. Through our life’s struggles and blessings, our faith reminds us that our eternal rewards is having a resurrected spiritual body with Jesus and all the heavenly court in heaven forever.
May the abundant blessings of our precious Lord Jesus bring great joy to your mind, heart and emotions this week, as we get closer to Jesus.
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2017 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)