THE ONLY TRUE SOURCE OF STRENGTH WE NEED
(A biblical reflection on the 26th Ordinary Sunday, 26 September, 2010)
Second Reading: 1Tim 6:11-16
First Reading: Amos 6:1,4-7; Psalms: Ps 146:7-10; Gospel: Lk 16:19-31
But you, man of God, avoid all these things. Strive for righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. Run your best in the race of faith, and win eternal life for yourself; for it was to this life that God called you when you firmly professed your faith before many witnesses. Before God, who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus, who firmly professed His faith before Pontius Pilate, I command you to obey your orders and keep them faithfully until the Day when our Lord Jesus Christ will appear. His appearing will be brought about at the right time by God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He alone is immortal; He lives in the light that no one can approach. No one has ever seen Him; no one can ever see Him. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen (1Tim 6:11-16 TEV).
Who does not enjoy receiving a letter from a friend? Especially a long affectionate letter from someone far away. Surely we have this in common with the members of the community of faith in the ancient Church who received this letter. They must have been overjoyed to receive these words which we now know as the first letter to Timothy.
The value of this very personal sounding letter is in the fact that the instructions it contained applicable to Christians of any time or place. This letter is for us, as well as for our forebears in the faith, and for this reason it has been cherished by Christians throughout the ages. The letter contains a lot of practical advice. Rather than let it become just a list of things to do, the author finally directs the attention away from the practical toward th eternal. He reminds us of the heavenly truths which must shape the perspective of every Christian.
Our obedience must not rest on the belief that we can somehow make ourselves acceptable to God through our own merits. Rather, the only true source of strength we need is in our knowledge of God’s love for us and an understanding that God has a plan for humanity. As we understand these things, our obedience will flow naturally from a heart full of praise (1Tim 6:15-16).
It is easy, even for committed Christians, to lose our focus on God and our life with Him as our ultimate destination when we become engrossed in the concerns and affairs of this world. The kind of Spirit-led life God wants for us can seem impossible when God becomes remote.
Short prayer: Heavenly Father, Creator of heaven and earth, to You be honor and eternal glory. You are a God who does not dwell at a distance but whom we may merit to have within us. As we die to sin, please dwell in us like the soul in the body so we are enlivened by You as Your living members. In You we live and move and are. We pray this, together with Mary, in the name of Your beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Jakarta, 24 September 2010
A Christian Pilgrim