September 23, 2018 – Reflections by Deacon Al

Deacon-Al-Poroda-Headshot

Deacon Al

Last week the question was put to the twelve “who do people say that I am”? We tend to think that Christ was testing the Apostles to see if the twelve were actually paying attention to what was going on and make sure they were observing His works, the works they would continue after he was no longer with them. He was not only testing them, but the test continues with and through us today.
This week, after reviewing the first reading I became agitated as any Christian follower should and I questioned myself why? Could it be these words were describing me? Me/Us in our times of sinfulness and shame that we bring upon ourselves? Me/Us in the times we turn our backs to God and choose sin over him; Our own personal wants over His wants, living our lives in our own ways versus living and being the people He created and needs us to be.
The teaching continues with James in the second reading as he describe these sinful inclinations along with the results of what happens if we make the choice of living life here and fulfilling our earthly desires, verses living a life that will lead us to eternal peace with God.
Jesus does the same and continues teaching the twelve about living humbly, being first versus last, placing yourself as a servant no matter what your role, your place of authority/honor or the title that follows your name. To drive His point home, he places a child in their midst as an example of the inner child that’s tucked away and lives deep within each of us. The children of God as he purely created us to be and states: “Whoever receives a child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the one who sent me”.
As I have come to understand what Jesus was saying, not only to the Apostles, but to each of us, is: No mat-ter what our sinful lives, desires, personal wants, selfish ambitions, we are all created as children of God, and remain so even in the men and woman we have come to be.
As a man who most of my life has studied, researched and contemplated what the meaning of “Grace and Mercy” truly means, I think in this past week I’ve come closer to understanding what it is. No matter what the sin, Gods Mercy is a love that forgives all. His Grace is the undeserved favor of being witnesses of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. A visible love of a parent giving one life to save the lives of many though the +Cross+ and having a “Mind and that of Living. Loving like Christ”

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