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Greetings to all who love to wander along the paths of the Holy Scriptures! The purpose of this blog is to share some of the insights of ordinary Catholics who have begun to delve into the mysteries of the Sacred Scriptures. Hopefully you will find these reflections inspiring and insightful. We are faithful to the Church, but we are not theologians; we intend and trust that our individual reflections will remain within the inspired traditions of the Church. (If you note otherwise please let me know!) Discussion and comments are welcome, but always in charity and respect! Come and join us as we ponder the Sacred Scriptures, which will lead us on the path into His heart, which "God alone has traced" Job 28:23.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Let Your Joy Shine!

 The readings for this Sunday, the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary time, are pretty dramatic.  They are leading us to the end of the liturgical year, and so we look the the end of time, and to the return of Christ the King, which is next Sunday's celebration.
In those days, I Daniel, heard this work of the Lord: "At that time there shall arise Michael, the great prince, guardian of your people;  it shall be a time unsurpassed in distress since nations began until that time.  At that time your people shall escape, everyone who is found written in the book .
"Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some shall live forever, others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace.
"But the wise shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament and those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever."  Daniel 12;1-3
Are you prepared for times of great distress and upheaval?  No..... in spite of a my disappointment in the election and the Mayan 2012 prediction of the end of the time, I am not prophesying the end of the world.  I keep in mind always the final words of today's Gospel:  "But of that day or hour, no one knows."  However,  since we do not know the day and hour, or even our individual day and hour, we must always have our faith and hope fixed on Jesus, who shows up the path of life through the dark valleys we will encounter.  Because He has forged the way through death.  In fact, though these readings bring to mind the ultimate futility of this world, reminding us of our present darkness and our looming doom, the Church is calling us to rejoice!  When that time does come our King is coming to gather us to Himself!
Therefore my heart is glad, my soul rejoices; my body also dwell secure, for you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, nor let your devout one see the pit.  You will show me the path to life, abounding joy in your presence.  Psalm 16: 9-11
As I read, prayed and re-read these readings a person kept emerging in my mind.  The saint Maximilian Kolbe.  I think of him because he died in Auschwitz with a group of others chosen to be starved to death in a horrible underground bunker.  It was a punishment inflicted on prisoners of Auschwitz whenever one of them escaped.  Designed to be produce a distress unsurpassed so that prisoners would be very motivated to prevent any other escape attempts.  But with Maximilian Kolbe in that  bunker, instead of the usual loud and horrifying suffering and pleas for help, they were led in singing hymns and prayers.  Maximilian encouraged them by giving them hope in the eternal inheritance of Christ our Lord, and in the everlasting beauty of their heavenly mother Mary.  He brought the joy of heaven into that awful place, and like a star shining brightly he lead those poor souls to justice.  That is what the Lord will do for each of us if we pray for the faith to hold fast to Him. 

It takes a profound joy, rooted in faith to be a light in the dark.  We need to be realistic about our passing  world, and we need to transmit the joy of our confidence in our Savior, who through His sacrifice leads the way through desolation and despair.  In His presence there is abounding joy, contagious and overflowing to those who wish to receive it. This joy does not mean you will be immune to suffering; I am not suggesting for one minute that the pain and suffering of Maximilian and the others was any less horrible than it had been for others, but faith in the eternal joy of heaven allowed them to endure in their suffering with a abiding hope and an inspiring courage.  This faith means that in suffering, and times of distress you can be a light to others.  Pray always for an increase of faith in Him, and love for all you meet, so that your joy can shine like the stars.

Oh, and here is another person that radiated the joy of the Lord, this is an admittedly light-hearted video that I found while reading Simcha Fisher's blog over at National Catholic Register. All of my friends have agreed, that like Simcha, first they hated it, thinking it a flippant video of our beloved Pope, then they loved it, because it overflows with the love of Christ and the joy of Blessed John Paul II!  

Peace and grace to all of you!  

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