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Take a Deep Breath and Read It Again, Slowly.

First Reading: Colossians 1:21-23

Brothers and sisters: You once were alienated and hostile in mind because of evil deeds; God has now reconciled you in the fleshly Body of Christ through his death, to present you holy, without blemish, and irreproachable before him, provided that you persevere in the faith, firmly grounded, stable, and not shifting from the hope of the Gospel that you heard, which has been preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, am a minister.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 54:3-4, 6 & 8

God himself is my help. O God, by your name save me, and by your might defend my cause. O God, hear my prayer; hearken to the words of my mouth. Behold, God is my helper; the Lord sustains my life. Freely will I offer you sacrifice; I will praise your name, O LORD, for its goodness.

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.”

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Oh, Saint Paul, master of the run-on sentence. It’s very easy to read something like the First Reading for today, get to the end, and go, huh? It’s tempting to just cruise on ahead to the Gospel. But the Epistles are so rich in teaching; let’s not let it just go over our heads. Let’s pick it apart, chew on it, and allow ourselves to be nourished.

Take a deep breath and read it again, slowly.

First off: we were once estranged. Maybe you grew up in the Church, you’ve always been a Christian. For you this points to the original sin you were born with, and that tendency towards sin you still battle with on the daily. Or maybe you came to know Jesus later in life. You remember a time, not so long ago, that you literally were estranged from Him and did not know Him. Whatever the case, we all have been estranged from God because of our sin.

Then we get this: He has now reconciled us! Hallelujah! And not only are we reconciled to Him, we are also made holy and blameless. So we go from being estranged and doing evil deeds, to being holy and blameless. And all this is made possible by Christ’s saving work on the cross. Thank you, Lord!

But wait! There’s a provision: provided that you continue in the faith. My sisters, can I be honest and say that sometimes this is hard to do? Our faith is so countercultural to the world around us. Sometimes I feel the world’s grip pulling on me, making me wonder, what’s the point? But there is hope in the Gospel, and we are called to remain steadfast and not shift from that hope.

Finally, we share in a Gospel that is preached to every creature under Heaven. Now this may have been a bit of an exaggeration coming from Saint Paul in the first century, when the Gospel was just making its way to the gentiles. But Saint Paul, through the promptings of the Holy Spirit, knew what was to come, that this Gospel would be preached all over the world. And we are called to partake in that world wide evangelization. Why? Because this Gospel is life-changing. He knew that full well. His own life was turned completely upside down by this Gospel. He went from being a passive bystander at the stoning of Saint Stephan to being one of the pillars of our Church.

Remain steadfast, dear sisters. This Gospel can have the same transforming power in your life.

Thank you, Jesus, for your Gospel of Salvation. Let its power never be lost on me. I give You my heart, and I give You full permission to turn my life upside down.

photo by Corynne Olivia

Anna Coyne is a wife, mother, knitter, gardener, and convert to the Catholic faith.  Read more about her here.

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