Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Stir Into Flame the Gift Of God

For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God. 2 Timothy 1:6-8

Jesus said to them, “Are you not misled because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? When they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but they are like the angels in heaven. As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God told him, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not God of the dead but of the living. You are greatly misled.”  Mark 12:24-27

Jesus, help us walk our pilgrim way to heaven with St. Justin as our guide.  Grant us his strength of faith and wisdom so we may remain united as one family, growing in love.  St. Justin Pray for us.

Jesus is involved in another virtual forensic debate with the Sadducees.  First, he sparred over the parable of the tenants.  Then, over whether to pay taxes to the belligerent Roman Empire.  Now, they try to spring this latest trap about the widow and her late husbands.

“Are you not misled because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?”

Jesus then un-misleads them.  The implication in this question – for me -- is that if we know the Scriptures or the power of God, we might not be so easily misled. 

How do we avoid being misled?  First, if we know God, then we would know that what we accomplish here on earth is not according to our own plans “but according to his own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began, but now made manifest through the appearance of our savior Christ Jesus.” 

This is not some distant promise.  This is a promise “now made manifest” through the real presence of Jesus.  Here.  Now.  There is absolutely nothing that we can do to make God love us any more than God already loves us.  However, we can do something to spread that love in the world.

The letter to Timothy explains this is a challenge we must embrace and warns it will not be easy.  When we embrace the message of Christ, we also must be prepared to bear our share of hardship.  Like being challenged to defend our faith like St. Justin the Marty, even before the leaders of our own country or our own church.  If you are ready, then “stir into flame the gift of God?”

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