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Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Eph. 4:1-6 & Lk. 12:54-59

From his prison in Rome Saint Paul is encouraging the Ephesians to lead lives worthy of their calling, to live selfless lives in gentleness and patience. The Spirit makes us one and, therefore, we should all live as one. Paul speaks of "one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God who is Father of all." (Eph. 4:5-6). We may say we belong to this or that Church, but it is a good reminder to us that so many of us bear the name Christian. As far as possible we should live in unity. The Catholic Church recognises this by not always rebaptising converts who were previously baptised.

Perhaps two practical conclusions can be drawn from the First Reading today. Firstly, that we share much with our fellow Christians and should emphasize that more often. When our neighbour of another denomination is crushed by sorrow we can speak of the same faith we share in the healing power and presence of Christ. Why not stress that more than the less significant differences we may have? Secondly, with our fellow Catholics we need to realise we have a deep-down unity despite the fact that we must at times disagree on the implementation of Christ’s teaching or about the style of the Mass music. Just as married couples do better to concentrate on what originally drew them together than on minor irritations, we could with other Christians and fellow Catholics, underline how much we have in common, above all our conviction that through the Lord Jesus we will be finally victorious over sin and suffering.

God delights in revealing His mind and heart to us. While it can look like Jesus is simply rebuking His disciples, and us, for not paying attention to the signs of the times, He is actually encouraging us to look around and see how His Spirit is at work on Earth. If we will look we will see that "the harvest is plentiful" (Lk. 10:2). The world is in its hungriest state ever. In our materialistic world, people are starving to know the love of God - often without even realising it. We try to fill the emptiness in our lives with counterfeit replacements for honest love - worldly pursuits like money, success, sexual encounters, drugs, alcohol and the like. As a result, we miss out on benefiting from the only love that really satisfies.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul wrote that the whole of Creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed (Rom. 8:19). This is what we were created for - our adoption as children of God. That is why nothing else can satisfy us. Deep in our hearts, we are all longing to be united with Jesus.

Many look to the end of the world in dread because they do not know the wonderful things our heavenly Father has prepared for us, the joy of having an intimate relationship with Him. The closer we draw to the Lord, the more clearly we will be able to read the signs of the times and we will not fear what we may see, but begin to understand God's intentions and trust that He is ever working for the good of His entire Creation.

Holy Spirit, renew our minds. Teach us to look forward to Christ's coming with hopeful and expectant anticipation. Prepare us to respond to whatever You ask of us in faith and obedience.

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