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All Is Grace

Memorial of Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 4:6B-15

Brothers and sisters:
Learn from myself and Apollos not to go beyond what is written,
so that none of you will be inflated with pride
in favor of one person over against another.
Who confers distinction upon you?
What do you possess that you have not received?
But if you have received it,
why are you boasting as if you did not receive it?
You are already satisfied; you have already grown rich;
you have become kings without us!
Indeed, I wish that you had become kings,
so that we also might become kings with you.

For as I see it, God has exhibited us Apostles as the last of all,
like people sentenced to death,
since we have become a spectacle to the world,
to angels and men alike.
We are fools on Christ’s account, but you are wise in Christ;
we are weak, but you are strong;
you are held in honor, but we in disrepute.
To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty,
we are poorly clad and roughly treated,
we wander about homeless and we toil, working with our own hands.
When ridiculed, we bless; when persecuted, we endure;
when slandered, we respond gently.
We have become like the world’s rubbish, the scum of all,
to this very moment.

I am writing you this not to shame you,
but to admonish you as my beloved children.
Even if you should have countless guides to Christ,
yet you do not have many fathers,
for I became your father in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 145:17-18, 19-20, 21

R. (18) The Lord is near to all who call upon him.
The LORD is just in all his ways
and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
R. The Lord is near to all who call upon him.
He fulfills the desire of those who fear him,
he hears their cry and saves them.
The LORD keeps all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.
R. The Lord is near to all who call upon him.
May my mouth speak the praise of the LORD,
and may all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.
R. The Lord is near to all who call upon him.

Gospel: Luke 6:1-5

While Jesus was going through a field of grain on a sabbath,
his disciples were picking the heads of grain,
rubbing them in their hands, and eating them.
Some Pharisees said,
“Why are you doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Have you not read what David did
when he and those who were with him were hungry?
How he went into the house of God, took the bread of offering,
which only the priests could lawfully eat,
ate of it, and shared it with his companions?”
Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”

NAB

sept 3

“All is grace.” –St. Therese of Lisieux

. . .

Who confers distinction upon you? Saint Paul questions the Corinthians in today’s First Reading. Yikes, I think to myself. He tells them not to become inflated with pride in favor of one person over against another. I feel convicted as I read. He cautions us regarding comparison and boasting. These things are not good for our souls, and they can lead to worse: pride and jealousy.

Are you ever guilty of these things, too? The number one place where I find myself able to relate to these warnings of Saint Paul is on social media. It can be brutal, right? I’m scrolling through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest, and I start comparing myself. I start getting judgmental. I start getting jealous. Yikes! It’s no good, sisters! It doesn’t happen all the time, but when I take an honest look at my heart, I have to admit that I have these moments of weakness. These reactions are ultimately prideful. They are not what the Lord desires for me. Maybe social media isn’t challenging for you. Maybe you catch yourself guilty as Saint Paul charges in a different setting: the classroom, on the sports field, or in your mom’s group.

When I find myself in this kind of situation, I have to remember to step away. Sometimes I click “unfollow.” I close that tab or that phone app, and I stop. In a moment of grace I come to my senses, and I remember to be grateful. Because everything in this life? It’s a gift.

What do you possess that you have not received? Everything is a gift from God. Be they material gifts, spiritual gifts, blessings big or small—they are all given to us. We don’t earn anything in this life. It is out of God’s great mercy and love that we are given each day, and every breath. And the greatest gift of all: Christ dying for us, which allows us the gift of eternal life.

Sisters, let us raise our hands in thanksgiving and lift our voice in unison with the Psalmist: May my mouth speak the praise of the Lord, and may all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever. Amen! Praise God for the countless blessings He bestows upon us, for they are all gifts. They are all grace.

[bctt tweet=”It is out of God’s great mercy and love that we are given each day, and every breath. @inendlesssong” username=”blessedisshe__”]

Lord, open our eyes and our hearts to the gifts you so generously lavish upon us. Help us never to be jealous, but to rejoice with our sisters in Christ when they receive gifts. May we be deeply grateful to You for all You have given, for You have given all.

Elise Howe is a devoted wife, momma, and musician currently living in NYC, though she will always be a midwestern gal at heart. You can find out more about her here.

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