“It is sown corruptible; it is raised incorruptible. It is sown dishonorable; it is raised glorious. It is sown weak; it is raised powerful. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual one.”(1 COR 15: 42-44)
With God’s grace and help we can change everything: “it is sown corruptible; it is raised incorruptible.” We can be dishonorable and weak, and Our Lord can change us into glorious and powerful. Our marriages could be broken and in ashes, but God can change them into miracles.
“Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart and yield a harvest through perseverance.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace: one Body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call;” (EPH 4: 1-4)
This is a strategy for all kinds of difficult situations: “with humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love.” We are not perfect; we are sinners, weak and fragile; when we respect another with “humility and gentleness,” “the unity of the Spirit” can help us love stronger.
“We praise you, O God, we acclaim you as Lord; the glorious company of Apostles praise you.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective. Indeed, I have toiled harder than all of them; not I, however, but the grace of God that is with me.” (1 COR 15: 10)
This is Our Lord’s love, which created us and made us who we are. We can cooperate with God’s grace, like St. Paul, who has “toiled harder than all of them, but [it is by] the grace of God that is with me.” St. Therese the Great used to say: Therese alone can do nothing, but Therese with Jesus can do everything. The closer we come to Jesus, the closer we are to our true identity.
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest, says the Lord.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.” (1 COR 13: 12)
Because of this, we used to say in our Program: “it is good, because….” when some unexpected things occur. Seeing that we “know partially” and “we see indistinctly,” we prefer to trust God, Who knows and Who has plans for us, rather than trust our limited ability to see properly.
“Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life, you have the words of everlasting life.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Some people God has designated in the Church to be, first, Apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then, mighty deeds; then gifts of healing, assistance, administration, and varieties of tongues.” (1 COR 12: 28)
We have different roles and different vocations as well as different talents and different gifts but the same purpose in life—to serve our brothers and sisters. We are “designated in the Church to be” servants and supporters and to be transmitters of Gods grace. As parents or friends and in our workplaces and streets, we can bring people closer to Our Lord.
“A great prophet has arisen in our midst and God has visited his people.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him and, turning, said to the crowd following him, ‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.’ When the messengers returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.” (LK 7: 9-10)
“Jesus was amazed at him.” And in the same way, He looks at us whenever we fight for our relationship with Him, when we grow and when we say we are sorry when we go to confession. He is amazed, like parents are amazed, watching the progress of their children. He never is upset or disappointed because love is always focused on the good.
“God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.” (MK 8: 34-35)
Again and again Our Lord reminds us that there is only one way to reach our full potential as God’s children—to be givers of selves, which means: “deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Him.” “Deny yourself,” because you live for the beauty of your spouse; “take up your cross,” because we will never find love without the cross, and we will not lift the cross without love (JPII); “follow Him,” because we are weak, limited sinners, and we desperately need His presence and grace to fulfill our mission.
“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.” (PHIL 2: 6-8)
Our Lord “took the form of a slave” to serve us, to bring us closer to Him and to His Heavenly Father and finally to save us, “becoming obedient to death” and taking us to Heaven. When we serve and when we are givers of selves, we imitate Him and we make the lives of our brothers and sisters happier.
“We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your Cross you have redeemed the world.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” (LK 6: 38)
There are two different worlds seen from the perspective of the gift: when we are focused on giving or when we are focused on receiving. The givers are happy to share, to give something away and to make someone happy; the receivers are happy only when they receive and are always expecting something from someone. St. Paul reminds us: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ (ACTS 20: 35)
“If we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Raising his eyes toward his disciples Jesus said: ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours. Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice and leap for joy on that day!’” (LK 6: 20-23)
“It is good, because…,” says one of our strategies from Program 1. We see the world from our perspective, temporary; God sees the world from His perspective, eternally. Our today’s reasons for “weeping,” tomorrow could change for laughing. When we put our lives into Our Lord’s hands, we can expect from Him only the best.
“Rejoice and leap for joy! Your reward will be great in heaven.” (Gospel Acclamation)