Reflections on the Readings
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Seventh Sunday After Pentecost
July 27, 2014 - Year A
For Those Who Love God
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:28-30)
Love of God is first. This understanding saturates the Bible's story of salvation from cover to cover. To know and to love the Lord is to understand that he first loved us. Again, the Bible tells us: But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
See how God dotes on his children calling us into his purpose. And in his arms he looks at us and tells us we are always on his mind and that He has big plans for us and how he sees and loves in us what he sees and loves in His Son. For you see there's always been plan A. That's what "those whom he predestined he also called" means. Jesus wasn't Plan B because from the very immeasurable abyss of Holy Love there's been only one name whereby we can be saved.
Maybe this is why Peter tells us that even in the Old Covenant the prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be ours made careful search and inquiry, inquiring about the person or time that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated when it testified in advance to the sufferings destined in Christ and the subsequent glory. And get this. Folks like Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Jeremiah and many more knew that they were not serving themselves but us, in regard to the things we now know concerning Christ. For the Good News about Christ has been declared to us by the Holy Spirit inspired preaching of the Apostles. And then Peter declares, "These things the angels desire to look into!" (1 Peter 1:10-12)
The story of the Treasure hidden in a field and the Pearl of Great Worth are one story. Jesus invites us to invest our whole heart to know Him in the power of his kingdom. I remember singing in the Pentecostal church, "Take this whole world, but give me Jesus…no turning back, no turning back." Let me ask you something really personal: "Have you fallen head over heels in love with Jesus? Is your heart burning with love for Christ and his Church? Are you being configured to grace daily and learning to search the scriptures daily to find out more about Christ?
A New Evangelization may not make much sense until we have a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ. And the single thing that characterizes everyone who encountered Christ in the Gospels is that they want to tell someone else about Jesus. The Woman at the Well went into her community and said, "Come see a man who changed my life."
Yes my friend, there is always more. More of his saving fulness to know and treasure and tell about. There is more of his Spirit to be filled with. Come to Jesus and say I want more. Pray with courage and some abandonment and say, "I'll take whatever you want to give me. Let me have more."
Look deep inside and take the leap and ask for more. Don't allow any deception of the enemy take back what only belongs to Christ. The deal is that the good, free, and abundant life is found by those who love God. We know that all things work together for good for those who love God who are called according to his purpose. That purpose is worth knowing with all of your heart, mind, body, and strength. Amen.
Dennis Hankins is a parishioner at Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral, of the Diocese of Knoxville, TN. Prior to uniting with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil 2006, Dennis served as a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church. E-mail Dennis at: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @dshankins or visit him at: www.dennishankins.com