“The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 COR 1: 18)
“The message of the cross” is perfectly known to everybody who loves. Firstly, we recognize in this message pain, extreme cruelty and a horrible death; but there is another message hidden in this message—love, unconditional love and the desire to save all of us. When we love, we give the same “message”: I will do everything for you to protect you; this is possible not because of my own strength, but it comes from Our Lord and “the power of God.”
“Be vigilant at all times and pray, that you may have the strength to stand before the Son of Man.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 COR 1: 8-9)
This is about Our Lord and His love for us: “God is faithful”; God protects and leads, God inspires and empowers, “He will keep us firm to the end.” In every moment of our lives, He takes care of us; He always loves us, and He comes with His grace whenever we need His help.
“Stay awake! For you do not know when the Son of Man will come.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” (2 THES 3: 16)
Our Lord’s peace helps us to recognize clearly what we should do or how we should react. When we keep peace, we respond with gentleness and respect, and we look at how to be more a gift of selves and how to answer properly in the situation. When we lose peace, our answer is not clear—we can react with anger, with a lack of respect and with many demands. It is difficult for us to keep “peace at all times and in every way,” so we should ask for it constantly. And—fortunately—that kind of peace is promised by the “Lord of peace,” Who can “Himself give us peace at all times and in every way.”
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.”
“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through his grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word.” (2 THES 2: 16-17)
God takes care of us and “strengthen[s] us in every good deed and word.” “The word of God is living and effective,” and Our Lord knows perfectly well that words can encourage people or destroy people, especially within the family. When we are gentle and respectful in dialog, we can experience His presence in our relationships.
“The word of God is living and effective, able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.”
“We ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters, as is fitting, because your faith flourishes ever more, and the love of every one of you for one another grows ever greater.” (2 Thes 1: 3)
“Faith flourishes ever more,” and “love . . . grows ever greater” is possible, so we can work on it. Love is a word and is an action; when we do something to love our spouses more, to be better as a spouse or to bring more joy—love “grows ever greater.” When we pray regularly (not only when peaceful and relaxed but also when tired and exhausted) and when we adore God and praise Him in all our circumstances—“faith flourishes ever more.”
“My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“As a result of this many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.” (JN 6: 66)
They didn’t leave the Church because their pastor wasn’t good enough, because the Church is full of sinners, or because of failed priests or corrupted institutions; they didn’t leave because of us; they left because of Jesus. He was rejected, He was abandoned. We try to reach people, we served them in many ways, and we are sad when we lose them, but it happened also for the One, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. This is the mystery of iniquity, and behind this is the enemy, the Satan. And it looks like coincidence, but the passage number is JN 6:66.
“Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life; you have the words of everlasting life.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (MT 23: 11-12)
This is the purpose for which we were created: Our Lord came to serve, and we need to follow His example. True love always look for the gift of self, not for demanding; is more concerned in giving than receiving, like bl. Paul VI reminded us: “Whoever really loves his partner loves not only for what he receives, but loves that partner for the partner’s own sake, content to be able to enrich the other with the gift of himself.”
“You have but one Father in heaven; you have but one master, the Christ.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts. I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes, careful to observe my decrees.” (EZ 36: 26-27)
Every broken relationship with God has the same final end—God initiates a new beginning: “I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you.” God never gives up on us; He always loves and always hopes. With Our Lord we can be a new persons, “careful to observe His decrees.”
“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“For thus says the Lord GOD: I myself will look after and tend my sheep.” (EZ 34: 11)
God gave us His children to protect them, guide them, and lead them to their final destination: heaven. We, as parents or teachers, consecrated or priests, receive different roles in this process. When we, for some reason, fail, Our Lord “will look after and tend his sheep” because it is not about us and our missions or our roles, but about children and the love of Our Lord for them; only He and His love can save our children and us.
“The word of God is living and effective, able to discern the reflections and thoughts of the heart.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life.” (MT 19: 28-29)
Every generation has those “who have followed” Our Lord; people of good will, who have given houses, relatives or lands “for the sake of His name”: consecrated and married, nuns and priests, young and old, who were called to spend their lives serving Him and the Gospel in the Church and in the world to save our generation for heaven.
“Jesus Christ became poor although he was rich so that by his poverty you might become rich.” (Gospel Acclamation)