Joshua 5:9a, 10-12; Psalm 34:207; 2 Cor 5:17-21; Luke 5:1-3, 11-32
Obviously the overall theme today is coming back to the loving embrace in humility and obedience to how God wants us to live our life out in our short time here on earth. Most of us who are reading this are firm members of the "Household or Kingdom of God." We haven’t taken our inheritance, squandered it and left home. We are in a gradual process of being renewed and transformed by the Holy Spirit Who is basically in charge of growth and development of all since Pentecost. He is not creating us new from conception because we have grown up, at least physically. We are being renewed in our minds, (Romans 12:2). We are being transformed. That is a process offered us throughout our life so we can get ready to go to heaven. The question is, are we listening and willing to give up our plans and wills to how God wants us to live our lives?
The Joshua reading tells of the Israelites having left Egypt celebrating the Passover, spending a generation in the desert and finally making it into the inheritance of the Promised Land again celebrating the Passover. Ps 34 (how I love this psalm) tells us to taste and see the wonders God has worked in our faith lives as His chosen people, and how we can bless, glorify and extol His Name. As we see God’s greater picture in human history and look to Jesus we really shall be "radiant with joy." Last week did you go and spend some time with Jesus, our "burning bush," in your local church? If you took a little bit of time you were "radiated" with some of His divine love. You should experience some peace and joy. As you sing His praise from your heart something marvelous will touch your heart.
If we have come deeper in our faith, like the faithful brother in Jesus’ gospel story this week, we don’t want to be bitter or unloving toward those who have strayed and come back. Rather we want to celebrate all persons who come to meet Jesus. I love to hear confessions especially of those who are coming back after 20 or 30 years, I welcome them home; let’s go have a party. They are a little surprised. It is a time to rejoice.
This week St. Paul calls us "Ambassadors" for Christ. As we are in Christ we have the invitation to grow at becoming "new creations." It is not forced on us; we have to cooperate with God’s grace of invitation. As we come more fully one with Christ, He uses us to invite others by the ways we live our lives. Thus we are those modern ambassadors. As I was coming back home last Tuesday from a prayer meeting, I needed some vegetables from Wal-Mart. I felt the Holy Spirit inviting me to stop at the nearest store. So as I was checking out a young man right in from of me was holding on to his basket. Yet he seemed to me, to be falling asleep. He was collapsing. I didn’t know if I should be ready to catch him. After three times I asked him if he was ok. He told me a little of his story. I prayer for him right there out loud. As I left the checkout counter the cashier said that he was lying to my face. His actions were the result of being on drugs. The young woman behind me was amazed that I prayed for him in the checkout lane. She said it renewed her faith. I guess many of us live in a "hothouse." I wasn’t aware of the cause of his problem. I just put my hand on his shoulder and pray for him and his situation. I continued to pray for him on my way home. God can use us in the simplest of ways even if we are a little embarrassed. God can do the rest. Be open to His promptings. Have a productive week. Blessings, + Fr. Bob Hilz.