Sunday, February 21, 2016

Listen to Him

By Jim Bayne

Abram put his faith in the LORD   (GN 15:5)

The Lord is my light and my salvation.  (Ps 27:1)

We also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body by the power that enables him also to bring all things into subjection to himself.  Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord. (PHIL 3:20- 4:1)

Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.”
(Luke 9:35)
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD. (Psalm 27:13-14

The readings today center on Faith:
    ∙   Abram is witness to a miracle in order to strengthen his Faith for the journey. 
    ∙   David the psalmist’s Faith was strengthened by his success in battle with both man and beast.
    ∙   Paul’s Faith began by being knocked off his horse and left blind for awhile. 
    ∙   The Faith of Peter, James and John is strengthened by witnessing the Transfiguration.

We are asked to have Faith without seeing Jesus directly: ”blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (John 20:29) How do we develop such Faith?

“We have talked much of salvation by faith, but there has been little realization that all real faith involves discipline.  Faith is not a blithe ‘turning it all over to Jesus,’ Faith is such confidence in Jesus that it takes seriously his summons, ‘if any man or woman will come after me, let them deny themselves, and take up their cross, and follow me.’

“We have loudly proclaimed our dependence upon the grace of God, never guessing that the grace of God is given only to those who practice the grace of self-mastery. ‘Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling for God is at work in you both to will and to work his good pleasure.’ People working out, God working in – that is the New Testament synthesis.’”  – from Discipline and Discovery by Albert Edward Day

Lent is a perfect time to put some extra effort into strengthening your Faith.  Notice some of the words in the above quote: take up your cross, self-mastery, work out, working out.

The Gospel for this past Monday was taken from Matthew 25:31-46: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me....” Now there is a work out that requires taking up your cross and exercising some self-mastery!! But the results of such an effort are transforming and will do wonders to strengthen your faith. 

For example, if just one man from each parish in the Arlington Diocese were to volunteer to serve on a KAIROS Prison Ministry team, two of the five prisons now waiting for a program could be served.  That equates to about 160 men being given the opportunity for a Cursillo like experience each year.  Wow!!  Imagine what we could accomplish with just one person per parish taking up any one of the Matthew 25 admonitions.!!  Our Faith would really come alive.

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