Saturday, June 4, 2016

Make the best of the Rest of Our Life

The Word of God takes us back to a man of God named Elijah.  A struggling poor single mom is grieving over the death of her only child.  She’s angry with God and takes it out on Elijah.  But in the Book of Kings, Elijah pleads with God to bring back the widow’s child.   Lo and behold.  The widow’s grief turns into joy.

Jesus Raises to life the Son of the Widow of Nain
The author may be asking us: do we recognize a compassionate God in our lives?

In the Gospel according to Luke, the author describes the widow of Nain who has just lost her only son.  Jesus was deeply touched by her grief.  He raised the young man to life.  The crowd is awed. Jesus became a sign of hope.

The author may be asking us: is the Risen Christ a sign of hope for us?

I always wondered if those two sons changed their lives dramatically.  They seemed to have had a second chance.

But we only get one life.  And one chance. D.H. Lawrence, the celebrated 20th century author, wrote, “If only one could have two lives.  The first in which to make one's mistakes...and the second in which to profit by them.”  That line is paraphrased beautifully in the film “The Natural” with Robert Redford.

There are no dress rehearsals for life.  But the good news is this: even if we have made mistakes, we can still make something of the rest of our life, with God's grace.

Paul in his letter to the Christian community in Galatia (what we know as central Turkey) speaks about his vocation.  He once savagely persecuted Christians: until he experienced the power of the Risen Christ.   That turned Paul’s life upside down. He became a passionate preacher of the good news that Jesus, once crucified and now risen, is alive and because He lives, we live.

The author may be asking us how passionate are we about witnessing to Gospel virtues.

We might begin with Chapter 12 in Romans, or with the beatitudes.  For example,

“If you’re working to pay the bills, but making time to be with family, blessed are you. Heaven will be yours.

“If you happily give your time at a soup kitchen, shop for a housebound neighbor, help a youngster; if you befriend the unpopular, the perpetually lost, blessed are you.  Count God among your friends.

“If you refuse to take shortcuts when it comes to doing what is right, if you refuse to compromise your integrity and ethics, if you refuse to take refuge in the rationalization that ‘everybody does it,’ blessed are you–you will triumph.

“If you readily spend time listening and consoling others; if you manage to heal wounds and build bridges; if others see in you goodness, graciousness, joy and serenity; if you can see the good in everyone, blessed are you. You are nothing less than the face of God in our midst.

Yes, make the best of the rest of your life.

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