The Lord says this: I am coming to gather the nations of every language. They shall come to witness my glory. I will give them a sign and send some of their survivors to the nations: to Tarshish, Put, Lud, Moshech, Rosh, Tubal, and Javan, to the distant islands that have never heard of me or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory to the nations. As an offering to the Lord they will bring all your brothers, on horses, in chariots, in litters, on mules, on dromedaries, from all the nations to my holy mountain in Jerusalem, says the Lord, like Israelites bringing oblations in clean vessels to the Temple of the Lord. And of some of them I will make priests and Levites, says the Lord.
Have you forgotten that encouraging text in which you are addressed as sons? My son, when the Lord corrects you, do not treat it lightly; but do not get discouraged when he reprimands you. For the Lord trains the ones that he loves and he punishes all those that he acknowledges as his sons. Suffering is part of your training; God is treating you as his sons. Has there ever been any son whose father did not train him? Of course, any punishment is most painful at the time, and far from pleasant; but later, in those on whom it has been used, it bears fruit in peace and goodness. So hold up your limp arms and steady your trembling knees and smooth out the path you tread; then the injured limb will not be wrenched, it will grow strong again.
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.’
And those now first who will be last
There was once a comment made to me that the converts to the Catholic Faith have a lot to teach those who are cradle Catholics. This arose because the examples of the cradle Catholics left much to be desired both in terms of practice, e.g. coming late for Mass or knowledge, e.g. not knowing the rationale of the Church’s position on moral teachings such as the sanctity of life.
This is indeed something which we can reflect upon as there is perhaps an element of truth in this. I have always wondered what could keep the flame of the faith going on in our Christian lives. In prayer, I have always asked God what could keep the flame of faith alive in myself. The discovery was that it is through encountering God in a deeply personal way and to stengthen that relationship through conversations with others and in encountering God in the Blessed Sacrament.
God wants us to discover Him in a way where we are not judged and which we will allow ourselves to be open to our faith without being judged. The point we need to remember is that Heaven is not about being in a competition but about our own personal progress with God and getting to know Him. As we begin our week, let us discover what God so desires of us and to answer it.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, let us approach you with Faith and Love as we continue to experience you in the people whom we meet.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all who teach the Catholic Faith.