February 26, 2017 last Sunday in Ordinary Time
Season of Lent begins next Wednesday March 1, 2017
In the second reading Paul writes to the Christian community in Corinth, who is filled with division. Some were taught by Paul. And when Paul left, Apollos, a really great public speaker took over, and then Cephas. So depending on who taught at the time one heard the message of salvation, that person became the only one that person would follow or listen to. It was not the message, but the person who delivered it. And division took place. Paul rejects this idea and tells them it is the message.
Paul says clearly it is not the messenger but the message. Don't judge.
No matter who delivers the message of salvation, mercy, forgiveness, compassion, God is at work.
That is certainly reflected in the first reading from Isaiah.
This part of Isaiah is also called the message of consolation brought to the Jewish exiles in Babylon who were on the brink of despair
Isaiah speaks to a people in exile, who have lost everything, even their belief that God was with them. They felt completely abandoned.
Are there not times when we too, can feel that abandonment and we too ask,
"God where are you?
Don't you care about what is happening to me?"
Then an answer is given to those in the Exile of Babylon and again today, to us.
We need to continually pray to be able to rest in God and to ask for the gift to know that the above words from Isaiah are there for us today.
The Responsorial Psalm 62 gives us the advice to rest in God. In every situation in our life we need to pray to be able to rest in God. Even in the times that are so difficult and we feel abandoned as did the people in Exile in the first reading; we need to pray that we can trust God, rest in God.
Think about the words as we say them at the Eucharist on this Sunday.
Rest in God alone, my soul
The Gospel reading is about trusting God.
Jesus continues his Sermon on the Mount, which we have heard the past few Sundays.
In times of difficulty and feelings of abandonment, it is so easy to turn to things of the world that will, for the moment, seem to take the struggles, the doubts and fears, in other words Our Cross.
We end up abusing things so we can escape the cross, the problems, stresses and difficulties in our lives.
How do we escape the cross?
By abusing things such as drugs, alcohol, TV, materialism, etc. escape escape the call to pick our cross and follow Him.
We can each make our own list of how we escape the difficulties of life, the cross and not trust in the great love, compassion and mercy God has for each of us.
It is so easy for me now in retirement and at times of boredom
to not trust that God knows what He is doing in my life.
Then I remember that...
... the struggles are the way to eternal life.
Christ knew this and the great love His Father had for Him and for all of us and so gave Himself up to death.
Lord, help me to follow Christ
and to know your great love even in times of difficulty.