From Paul, appointed by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, to the saints who are faithful to Christ Jesus. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us with all the spiritual blessings of heaven in Christ.
Before the world was made, he chose us, chose us in Christ,
to be holy and spotless, and to live through love in his presence,
determining that we should become his adopted sons, through Jesus Christ
for his own kind purposes,
to make us praise the glory of his grace,
his free gift to us in the Beloved,
in whom, through his blood, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins.
Such is the richness of the grace
which he has showered on us
in all wisdom and insight.
He has let us know the mystery of his purpose,
the hidden plan he so kindly made in Christ from the beginning
to act upon when the times had run their course to the end:
that he would bring everything together under Christ, as head,
everything in the heavens and everything on earth.
‘Alas for you who build the tombs of the prophets, the men your ancestors killed! In this way you both witness what your ancestors did and approve it; they did the killing, you do the building.
‘And that is why the Wisdom of God said, “I will send them prophets and apostles; some they will slaughter and persecute, so that this generation will have to answer for every prophet’s blood that has been shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was murdered between the altar and the sanctuary.” Yes, I tell you, this generation will have to answer for it all.
‘Alas for you lawyers who have taken away the key of knowledge! You have not gone in yourselves, and have prevented others going in who wanted to.’
When he left the house, the scribes and the Pharisees began a furious attack on him and tried to force answers from him on innumerable questions, setting traps to catch him out in something he might say.
He chose us in Christ
By the time you read this reflection, I would have celebrated a milestone birthday. Last week, my better half threw me a huge surprise birthday party, with the help of some close friends. Quite frankly, I am happy to let the event slip by quietly. If you know me well enough, I absolutely abhor surprises and I do not like being the centre of attention. I am not the ‘fade into the background’ kind of person, but am happy to be added entertainment to a party. Not the main act. My friends told me after the fact that they were afraid that I’d throw a hissy fit over this surprise, ruining everything my loved ones had planned. But I went along with the evening’s festivities and really enjoyed myself. It was great to see a sea of familiar faces screaming ‘Surprise!’ It’s like a tapestry of my life made up of family (I have a huge, extended one), old and new friends. Just looking at all of them, I was reminded about different phases of my life, where I have been, where I came from and where I am today.
So as I celebrate this milestone birthday, I reflect upon my life and am amazed at where I am today. Before the world was made, he chose us….. for his own kind purpose. Indeed He has chosen me. Recently, I was asked what my conversion story was. I responded “It was a matter of time!” I converted to the Catholic faith some twenty four years ago, with the blessing of my parents. Unlike some of you who have amazing ‘hit you square in the eye’ type of conversion stories, mine is slow, gingerly but definite. And because our Lord knows I do not like huge surprises, He has been kind with me as well. Slowly and gently coaxing me along into a life that (I think) He has chosen for me.
Ten years ago, when I celebrated my then milestone birthday, I had quite definite ideas and plans about my goals and where my life would lead. Today, I have no idea where my life is leading me, except I trust that our Lord already has it all mapped out. Yeah, I freak out time and again wondering what on earth am I to do – and He continues to surprise me with events that unfold, projects he decrees and people that I meet. Is it anything I had envisioned my life to be ten years ago? Certainly not! Not by any measure of the imagination. Then again, what we imagine is but a small scene of a larger feature film; the vastness of what God sees and plans. Do I like what I am experiencing? Nope. I hate surprises remember? God may have chosen us, but we also need to co-operate in His plans. He needs us to say ‘Yes!’ And that one single decision could change everything and set you on an amazing adventure you never dreamed possible. That ‘Yes’ is actually the perfect path for God’s plan for your life. Just like my surprise birthday party – I simply let go of my natural tendency to control; and what an amazing time I had! Will you say ‘Yes; to God’s plan? He has chosen you, my brothers and sisters.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Geraldine Nah)
Prayer: Teach us Lord, to be obedient to your will. To be silent and to heed your call. For you have chosen us to be your sons and daughters. Give us the courage to take that very first step and allow you to work in our lives.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord for choosing us – to be holy and spotless. For your spiritual gifts. For working you perfect plan in our lives the moment we said ‘Yes!’ For taking us on this amazing life journey and giving us this perfect opportunity to be and to show love to our fellow brothers and sisters.