MEMORIAL OF ST. GREGORY THE GREAT, POPE & DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH

September 3, 2019

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

 

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When they say, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape!

 

But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; for those who sleep sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.

 

Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14

 

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
    of whom shall I be afraid?

 

One thing I asked of the Lord,
    that will I seek after:
to live in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord,
    and to inquire in his temple.

 

I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord!

 

Luke 4:31-37

 

He went down to Capernaum, a city in Galilee, and was teaching them on the sabbath. They were astounded at his teaching, because he spoke with authority. In the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, “Let us alone! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” When the demon had thrown him down before them, he came out of him without having done him any harm. They were all amazed and kept saying to one another, “What kind of utterance is this? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and out they come!” And a report about him began to reach every place in the region.

 

(NRSVCE)

 

Meditation

 

A clear theme in the Scriptures today is the contrast of light and darkness. As Christians, we have heard that we are called to walk as children of the light. We know that means we are to reject the darkness of sin, but it also means we are called to keep ourselves alert and fight temptations to close our eyes and ears to the truth. This can be easier said than done, especially when we are afraid that the truth might hurt us or there are aspects of our lives we would rather that the Lord not see.

 

When we are in sin or otherwise outside of God’s will for us, we crave the darkness. We feel like we can hide in the dark and are afraid of what will happen in the light; we might be exposed to shame and judgment, the truth might show us something that we are afraid to see or might somehow hurt us. We might know that if the light shines on something in our life that we aren’t proud of, we are going to have to change and we don’t want to yet. There might be a part of us that feels uneasy at the idea of the Lord seeing us as we are. Just as the demons in the Gospel cried out in fear, we might wonder if God’s reaction to our real selves will be to crush or destroy us.

 

If you have ever had those thoughts, look again at who said them in the Gospel and recognize where that fear comes from. Satan is the one who loves darkness and desires to cloak us with fear, shame, and guilt. He knows that the lies he tells us will be exposed in the light and he dreads it and fights it all the ways he can. But the Lord, as the psalm proclaims, is our light and our salvation -- whom should we fear? God brings His light to cast out the darkness and to reveal the truth, which is that He loves us, and has come to save us from everything that has tried to hold us captive. We need not hide from God or close our eyes to the truth. On the contrary, we should walk confidently in the light, knowing that the Lord understands us completely, even our struggles, and that His perfect will is for us to come to Him so He can give us all the grace and healing we need.

 

Take some time today to bring yourself into the light of the Lord’s presence. Examine your conscience and ask yourself if there is anything in your life or in your heart that you wish God couldn’t see -- and then speak to Him about it openly and honestly. Consider availing yourself of the Sacrament of Reconciliation this week so that everything may come into the light before the Lord. Know that He will meet you there and and set you free so that you may live out your calling more completely as a child of the light.

 

 

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