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The Second Greatest Story Ever Told

First Reading: Collosians 1:1-8

Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,  to the holy ones and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae: grace to you and peace from God our Father. We always give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love that you have for all the holy ones because of the hope reserved for you in heaven. Of this you have already heard through the word of truth, the Gospel, that has come to you. Just as in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing, so also among you,  from the day you heard it and came to know the grace of God in truth, as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow slave, who is a trustworthy minister of Christ on your behalf and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 52:10, 11

I trust in the mercy of God for ever. I, like a green olive tree in the house of God, Trust in the mercy of God forever and ever. I will thank you always for what you have done, and proclaim the goodness of your name before your faithful ones.

Gospel: Luke 4:38-44

After Jesus left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon. Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever, and they interceded with him about her. He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up immediately and waited on them. At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him. He laid his hands on each of them and cured them. And demons also came out from many, shouting, “You are the Son of God.” But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak because they knew that he was the Christ. At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place. The crowds went looking for him, and when they came to him, they tried to prevent him from leaving them. But he said to them, “To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.” And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

ESV

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The second weekend of July I took a group of teens from our parish to the Steubenville youth conference in Ohio. I was SO excited to have a little extra spending cash to spend at the bookstore. One of my favorite Catholic authors is Father Michael Gaitley, MIC. He has two newer books I have been dying to get my hands on. The one I was most anxious to read was “The Second Greatest Story Ever Told.” Ladies. It was incredible. We’re talking the kind of book you finish in one weekend; which was crazy for me to even do that considering how little sleep I got that entire weekend.

In the book, Father Gaitley shares how the second greatest story is that of “God’s School of Trust.” This issue of trust, he writes, gets to the heart of salvation history: “The whole of the Bible can be summarized as one long ‘school of trust,’ where our good and merciful God is simply trying to win us back; for us to give up our fear of him and trust in his love and goodness.” I immediately thought of these words of Father Gaitley as I was reflecting on the words of the Psalm today: I trust in the mercy of God forever. 

Each of us was born with a trust problem in our relationship with God. Unfortunately we inherited it from Adam and Eve. Gosh darn original sin. In our sin and brokenness, we are afraid to trust our good and loving God. We will spend our entire life on this earth striving and seeking to draw closer to Jesus through “God’s School of Trust.” Of course our fickle ways put God in quite a predicament. He cannot force a relationship with us, even though He so desperately aches for it. It is hard and long. However, with mercy, Jesus begins the long, arduous process of winning back our hearts.

I don’t know about you ladies, but I am a work-in-progress when it comes to working through my trust issues with God. I have grown, but still need much to learn in God’s school of trust. It’s not a one time deal and you’re good for life. To trust in the Lord are a constant, daily payer that should be upon each of our hearts. We believe in a God who is “merciful and gracious, slow anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6). Do we really believe this in our hearts?

Today set three different alarms on your phone and space them thorough out the day. When those alarms go off, stop everything you are doing and pray, “Jesus, I trust in You” or “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner” or “I trust in the mercy of God forever.” We receive more by asking unceasingly for it. Now is the time of mercy in the world and each of you play such an important role in that story.

photo by Corynne Olivia

Patty Hubbard is a wife, writer, and youth minister. When not fundraising for World Youth Day, she is learning to cook more than your average Lean Cuisine and training for her first half marathon. You can find out more about her here.

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