Monday, June 15, 2009

Pray for Persecutors

June 16, 2009

Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

By Beth DeCristofaro

For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9)

Praise the Lord my soul. Who keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets captives free. (Psalm 146:8-9)

But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. (Matthew 5:44-45)


In every respect, my God, may I be guided by my faith in you. May I seek to grow in knowledge of you and may I each day deepen my love for you. May my life be a statement of thanksgiving for your gift of life and your constant mercy. May my actions be a testament of your presence in each and every living thing you created.


Oh, where to begin on this chapter from 2 Corinthians? Paul encourages the Corinthians to give, in a “capital campaign” type drive, for Jerusalem. What we lose in translation to English is Paul’s play on words; footnotes from the NAB state: “The grace of God: the fundamental theme is expressed by the Greek noun charis, which will be variously translated throughout these chapters as ‘grace’, ‘favor’, ‘gracious act’ or ‘gracious work’…. The related term, eucharistia, ‘thanksgiving,’ also occurs” ( )

Paul says also that Jesus’ poverty “enriches” us. Scholars debate the meaning of these words. Some “interpret the wealth and poverty as succeeding phases of Jesus' earthly existence, e.g., his sense of intimacy with God and then the desolation and the feeling of abandonment by God in his death.” (NAB, above) To me this is an astounding understanding of Jesus’ divinity and humanity which sets him above and apart yet aligns him directly with us as well. Do we not have or desire those moments of intimacy – surrounded and uplifted by God? Yet do we not also feel abandoned, helpless, hopeless, frustrated and saddened in difficult times in our lives?

Jesus is there with us. Through his gracious act Jesus is always there with us. And with Jesus is the Giver of all Life, God. And with Jesus is the fulfilling courage and wisdom of the Spirit. Astounding. The LORD sets captives free. Praise the Lord, my soul!


Take a moment with today’s readings and the footnotes in the NAB (link above). Is our life uplifted by gracious acts or gracious works? Is our life eucharistia? We’ve heard about a lot of persecutors in the news this week. Pray for them. Are we one of them?