Friday, October 16, 2015

The Throne of Grace

Reflections on the Readings
October 18, 2015 - Year B
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

by Dennis S. Hankins

For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but in every respect who has been tempted as we are, yet without sinning.  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

The Throne of Grace

From the beginning, the beloved apostle, John, perhaps the one closest to Jesus, explained that the Logos of God was made flesh and dwelt among us as one full of grace and truth.  He and all the apostles together beheld His glory.  

We know that everyone who felt drawn to Christ were welcome in His presence, including the leper and the military leader seeking healing for his feverish daughter.  In fact, no one was excluded including the little children who giggled while sitting on His lap.  In every way, everyone found Jesus accessible, available, and touchable.  Christ was not among the people as one who came seeking attention, but rather came with the heart of a true shepherd, to seek and to save whoever was lost.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save and to heal and to restore and to forgive.  For he came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for us.

Therefore, we have an advocate with the Father.  He is Jesus, the same Jesus, who in the days of His flesh offered up prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears. He humbled himself and became obedient to all that was contrary to His nature, even death, death on a cross as He uttered these words, "Not My will, but Thy will be done."

This emaciated King of glory, my friend, is the Captain of our salvation, whose name we invoke before the throne of grace, and through whose name we ask and receive mercy and grace so that our fears may be drenched in peace and our lives and our hearts may be ransomed, healed, restored, and forgiven.

But like the famous commercials, Wait!!  There's more.  He who made the lame to walk, the leper clean, still in this 21st century lays His healing hands upon our bodies.  For as He was on earth, He is even the same at the right hand of the Father; for Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, always and forever full of grace to help us in our every need.  Let us, therefore, indeed come with confidence to the throne of grace, upon which He sits, to the same Jesus who made the blind to see, and the deaf to hear.  And then, on the third day, following His death on the cross, said to Satan, "What else do you have?"  Then the devil and his minions scampered off into the darkness to perhaps find another group of hogs to drive crazy.

My dear friend, please know there is no pain, nor fear, nor anything present, nor thing to come but that our Lord has already tasted it and overcome it.  For Jesus in His everlasting humanity, flesh of the flesh of Mary and a high priest forever is always sympathetic for us in all that  makes us weak and vulnerable.  For He is our Jesus, our Emmanuel, God ever with us, who is touched by the feelings and trials of our infirmities. So let us invoke His name over all that afflicts us and over all for whom we pray.  For these signs will accompany those who believe; in my name they will cast our demons, they will speak with new tongues, they will pick up serpents, and if  they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; and they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.  With these final words, Jesus ascended into the heavens and sent out His disciples with these words, from east to west, entrusting them with the imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation, the good news for body, soul, and mind!

Allow me to close with this encouragement:  the Father's throne of grace is always open.  It remains as it always has been, an open invitation to all of us to enter into the mystery of grace that always invites the lost, the least, and the lonely into its divine embrace.  We are reminded that God is not mad at us, nor has He ever been.  For Jesus the second Adam, invites the sons and daughters of the first Adam into His fellowship and communion, who dwells as St. Paul says in unapproachable light whom no man has seen or can see, into which He invites us to come boldly with confidence and faith with our praises and petitions in the name of Him who is the potentate of heaven and earth and whose kingdom and eternal love has no end.  Amen!

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