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In This World but Not of It

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 7:25-31

Brothers and sisters:
In regard to virgins, I have no commandment from the Lord,
but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy.
So this is what I think best because of the present distress:
that it is a good thing for a person to remain as he is.
Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek a separation.
Are you free of a wife? Then do not look for a wife.
If you marry, however, you do not sin,
nor does an unmarried woman sin if she marries;
but such people will experience affliction in their earthly life,
and I would like to spare you that.

I tell you, brothers, the time is running out.
From now on, let those having wives act as not having them,
those weeping as not weeping,
those rejoicing as not rejoicing,
those buying as not owning,
those using the world as not using it fully.
For the world in its present form is passing away.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 45:11-12, 14-15, 16-17

R. (11) Listen to me, daughter; see and bend your ear.
Hear, O daughter, and see; turn your ear,
forget your people and your father’s house.
So shall the king desire your beauty;
for he is your lord, and you must worship him.
R. Listen to me, daughter; see and bend your ear.
All glorious is the king’s daughter as she enters;
her raiment is threaded with spun gold.
In embroidered apparel she is borne in to the king;
behind her the virgins of her train are brought to you.
R. Listen to me, daughter; see and bend your ear.
They are borne in with gladness and joy;
they enter the palace of the king.
The place of your fathers your sons shall have;
you shall make them princes through all the land.
R. Listen to me, daughter; see and bend your ear.

Gospel: Luke 6:20-26

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!
Behold, your reward will be great in heaven.
For their ancestors treated the prophets
in the same way.

But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
But woe to you who are filled now,
for you will be hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will grieve and weep.
Woe to you when all speak well of you,
for their ancestors treated the false
prophets in this way.”

NAB

sept 7

Sometimes I read the first phrase or so of the day’s Gospel and think, “Oh—this Gospel again. I know this one!” It’s sort of alarming how easily I can skip over words and brush past verses, not really allowing His Word to soak into my soul.

Embarrassingly, I admit that sometimes I take His sacred words for granted.

Today’s Gospel is one of those familiar texts that I could be tempted to gloss over without truly hearing what the Lord is saying: Blessed are the poor, the hungry, the weeping, the hated, the excluded, the insulted, the denounced. I’ve read—and heard—these words countless times. I bet you have, too.

So, how do I actively attend to what God is trying to teach me through His Word?

It may sound silly, but I RAP while I read. No, I’m not talking about some sort of holy beatboxing—stay with me! Before jumping in to Scripture, I make a practice of doing the following:

Remember that God’s word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12) and it doesn’t return without accomplishing its task (Isaiah 55:11);

Ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten my heart and mind so that I may have ears to hear and a mind to understand what I’m reading; and

Ponder or meditate over the words slowly and deliberately, pausing to pray if something in particular strikes me as I’m reading.

It’s not quite Lectio Divina (an ancient method used to prayerfully read the Scriptures), but RAP helps me apply Bible passages to my own crazy existence.

Today, I am greatly encouraged by Jesus’ words. They remind me that although we are living in this world, we are not supposed to be of it.

We are supposed to be in and of Him.

And that isn’t easy, considering our fallen nature and the new crop of temptations and diversions that constantly threaten to pull us away from Jesus’s call.

When we live the paradoxical, counter-cultural realities of Christianity, however, we are promised fruit that remains. In Him—and not in the world—we are ultimately satisfied. In Him, we rejoice and leap for joy. The Kingdom of God is ours through Jesus.

Let’s continue to feed on the Word as we journey this road with Him.

[bctt tweet=”In Him—and not in the world—we are ultimately satisfied. // @realcatholicmom” username=”blessedisshe__”]

Return to today’s Gospel and “RAP” your way through it—how is God speaking to your heart? Thank Him for the precious gift of His Word.

Heather Renshaw is a writer, speaker, and uplifter on a mission to love and serve God with her husband and five children in the Pacific NW. You can learn more about her here.

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