Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thursday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

(I Corinthians 15:1-11; Luke 7:36-50)

A woman was giving testimony to her faith.  She talked of her father.  “A hard man,” she called him.  She said that he taught his family that religion is for the weak.  He scolded them not to have any part of it. Rather than take refuge in religion he desired that they become self-reliant.  From observing many needy people coming to church, it may seem that the man’s harsh criticism of religion is on target.

But such as perspective cannot account for what St. Paul writes in the first reading.  Paul himself was as tough a person as they come.  His body was no doubt covered with wounds from the beatings he endured for his faith.  More importantly – indeed, what is all important – he provides a list of people who saw the risen Lord Jesus.  It is specific and extensive.  It cannot be fanciful because Paul himself – oddly enough, he intimates – encountered him.  These appearances assure Christians that faith is not in vain.  Indeed, the appearances fill believers with the yearning to meet Christ in death.

The Church is for both the weak and the strong.  It brings people together to support one another.  It teaches us that self-reliance is an illusion of the strong.  It enables us to find the image of Christ in the weak.  Finally, it shows us that by loving one another, we imitate the resurrected Christ, testify to his living presence, and prepare ourselves to meet him in the end.