The Spirit comes to help us in our weakness. For when we cannot choose words in order to pray properly, the Spirit himself expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words, and God who knows everything in our hearts knows perfectly well what he means, and that the pleas of the saints expressed by the Spirit are according to the mind of God.
We know that by turning everything to their good God co-operates with all those who love him, with all those that he has called according to his purpose. They are the ones he chose specially long ago and intended to become true images of his Son, so that his Son might be the eldest of many brothers. He called those he intended for this; those he called he justified, and with those he justified he shared his glory.
Through towns and villages Jesus went teaching, making his way to Jerusalem. Someone said to him, ‘Sir, will there be only a few saved?’ He said to them, ‘Try your best to enter by the narrow door, because, I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed.
‘Once the master of the house has got up and locked the door, you may find yourself knocking on the door, saying, “Lord, open to us” but he will answer, “I do not know where you come from.” Then you will find yourself saying, “We once ate and drank in your company; you taught in our streets” but he will reply, “I do not know where you come from. Away from me, all you wicked men!”
‘Then there will be weeping and grinding of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves turned outside. And men from east and west, from north and south, will come to take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.
‘Yes, there are those now last who will be first, and those now first who will be last.’
They are the ones he chose special long ago and intended to become true images of his Son
Ever since I was 15 years old, I’ve been having conversations with God. The Lord would reveal to me certain sentences which I would tell my spiritual companion, and she would tell me that these are from the Bible – which I barely read. Along the way, as I became more well-versed with Scripture, God would reveal different things to me.
However, when I had my depression two years ago, I started to doubt. I asked myself: Did these things really happen? Did God really speak to me or was I imagining voices in my head? Was this really the voice of God or was it just my own subconscious telling me what I wanted to hear? I no longer trust what I hear in my prayer and for a long time, I’ve stopped being open to receiving any such messages.
In today’s first reading, we see that the Holy Spirit expresses for us our plea to God in a way that can never be put into words. People who pray in tongues tell me that this is the reason they pray in tongues – that they don’t know how to express their plea, so they pray in tongues and let the Holy Spirit express it accordingly. I never really got what they meant though.
I asked a colleague recently how she knew whether or not it was the Holy Spirit working within her, speaking to her, or was it her own voice? I didn’t really expect a good answer, but surprisingly I got one. She told me that it is because she followed what she believed to be God that she has changed into a more patient, more loving, more understanding, more tolerant person. Expressed in scriptural language, it is as it says in today’s first reading – “They are the ones he chose special long ago and intended to become true images of his Son…”
It is people who become true images of Jesus Christ that inherit the kingdom of God. Contrast this with the people in today’s gospel reading, the ones who ate and drank in the Lord’s company, who listened to his teachings. Just because we are in close proximity to God, and just because we are privy to His teachings, His Truth, doesn’t automatically means that we will inherit the kingdom of God. We can do all that and still be “wicked men” who the Lord recognises not.
This is why there are people who lived lives apparently apart from Jesus’ company, who listened to teachings not taught by Jesus, and yet still become true images of the Father’s Son. These are the people who will come from all over to inherit the kingdom of God. It matters not if you profess a faith that contains the whole truth as revealed by God if that truth is not lived, if that truth does not become part of us, and if we don’t become like Jesus.
Today, let us take some time to reflect on our lives: How can we try every day to become an image of the Lord Jesus Christ?
(Today’s OXYGEN by Daniel Tay)
Prayer: We pray for wicked Christians, that we may see the value of the faith we profess, and strive to become more and more like Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the Lord for showing us the Father’s love.
Thu, 27 Oct – Romans 8:31-39; Luke 13:31-35
Fri, 28 Oct – Ephesians 2:19-22; Luke 6:12-19; Feast of Ss Simon and Jude, Apostles
Sat, 29 Oct – Romans 11:1-2.11-12.25-29; Luke 14:1.7-11
Sun, 30 Oct – Malachi 1:14-2:2.8-10; 1 Thessalonians 2:7-9.13; Matthew 23:1-12; Thirty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time