Come, Lord Jesus

Luke 12:35-38

“Be patient waiting for Jesus’ return.  The tension between now and the final event of Jesus coming again must be lived in serene hope, committed to the present moment – we are pilgrims in search for a lasting home; we hope, as our forefathers in faith did, for a better homeland, in other words for heaven.  Come, Lord Jesus, come.” 

Pope St John Paul II

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"Whoever acknowledges me before men . . ."

Luke 12:8-12
 
Today, in the here and now, it takes a certain courage to stand up for our faith.  It is easier on one level to stand up for Christian values and ethics.  People often talk about the Catholic or the Christian ethos as if simply speaking in these broad terms says as much as is needed about who we are as believers.  But what if someone asked, “What part does Jesus play in that ethos?”  Would that question be met with embarrassed silence?
 
St Ignatius of Antioch said, “Don’t just be known for being a Christian, but for living as one.”  Pope Paul VI put it like this, “For witness, no matter how excellent, will ultimately prove ineffective unless its meaning is clarified and corroborated.” – what Peter described as accounting for the ‘hope that is within you” (1 Peter 3:15).  
 
Pope Paul VI went on to say, “The Good News proclaimed by the witness of life sooner or later has to be proclaimed by the word of life.  There is no true evangelisation if the name, the teaching, the life, the promises, the kingdom and the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, are not proclaimed.” (Evangelii nuntiandi 22)
 
 
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The Faith of the Centurion

Luke 7:11-17
 
Some of the most powerful and moving things Jesus said were connected with grief and loss.  Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted”. (Matt. 5:4).  When faced with the grief of Mary and Martha, John informs us that “Jesus wept”.  
 
How moving it must have been to see Jesus, himself the Resurrection and the Life, weep freely and openly (John 11:35).  We meet the same heartfelt and profoundly compassionate response in today’s encounter with the widow: “When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and she said, 'Don’t cry’ “ (v. 13 NIV).  His reaction teaches ius that Gpd’s heart is full of kindness and compassion for the human condition and predicament.
 
Grief strips us bare, but God is close to all those who have suffered loss, who are broken-hearted and grief-stricken.
 
Lord, your kindness, mercy and compassion are deeper thant the ocean, wider than the sea and extend from heaven to earth.
 
 
 
 
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Doubt

Faith in God and acceptance of Jesus is often reached through a process which involves questions, struggles and difficulties.  Indeed, there can be a way in which, as St Augustine said, doubt and unbelief are really no more than fear dressed up: "For I keep my heart from assenting anything, fearing to fall headlong; but hanging in suspense I was worse killed."

Doubt can be the gateway to faith.  In his poem Bishop Blougram's Apology Robert Browning wrote, "The more of doubt, the stronger faith, I say, if faith o'ercomes doubt".

Lord Jesus, when like Thomas I am tempted to doubt, help me to repent and turn away from the darkness and to embrace the light of your truth, saying in my heart, "My Lord and my God".

Chris

(from Bible Alive)
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