“The Lord takes delight in his people.”
The Lord loves people. He is a social God. He loves to interact with his people, especially his holy people, the saints, who are delightful people. What makes someone delightful or pleasing to be around with? What makes someone the apple of God’s eye?
Holy and Human. In today’s first reading, we read what St. Luke experienced at a very personal level. His information is not second hand. In fact, he is writing in first person plural. “We set sail from Troas…We spent some time in that city…We sat and spoke with the women who had gathered there…” (Acts 16:11-15). These are the intimate experiences of a disciple of the Lord. The good, the bad and the ugly moments of the disciples are recorded throughout the Gospels. Their doubts and fears, joys and tribulations are made known for our sake; so that we never lose hope or confidence in what is good, right and holy. And at times we can. We know we can. And so did the Apostles. They knew, and so they did not even spare the giants. We know that Paul and Barnabas had a rough relationship. Both were human and yet both are Saints. We know that Paul had some rough words for Peter. And yet, both men are Saints. Why are they delightful in God's eyes? Because they both rose above their petty and insignificant quarrels for God’s greater glory. They did not waste a single second conniving and contracting or gossiping and murmuring against one another. Rather, they separated and no longer talked directly with each other. They prayed for each other and for the other’s mission, and they were both very successful. When will we come to realize that all Christians share a common enemy and that our divisions and quarrels among one another only strengthens and embellishes the ugly grip and strangle hold of the devil on humanity? Do we not realize that the greatest scandal, in Christ’s eyes, is division? Today, the Lord invites his people to be united against Satan. May we fight him and not each other.
Disciplined in Emotions. Up and down, left and right. So many of us have our mood swings. The Lord loves a surprise, but even better than a surprise is a consistent person. The Lord loves a consistent follower who is faithful in the good times and bad. The faithful remained the same, faithful, regardless of the fact that they were thrown out of the synagogues and temple area, and regardless of the fact that they were killed in God's name! Followers of Christ remain the same, just like their Lord, regardless of persecution, for the Lord is the same yesterday, today and forever! Are we surprised that we are called to be the same? Do our emotions place demands on others? Do I change with the seasons or with friends? Am I loving today and very hurtful tomorrow? And so, like the wind, too often we are loved today and hated tomorrow or praised today and prowled tomorrow. I am who I am not because of my past circumstances or because of others. I am who I am because of who lives in me. Is it Christ or is it the other? “Let the faithful exult in glory; let them sing for joy upon their couches. Let the high praises of God be in their throats. This is the glory of all his faithful.” (Ps. 149:5-6a,9b)
Today is Memorial Day in the United States of America. Today we recognize the young men and women who sacrificed their lives for our beloved nation. They dedicated a good portion of their time on earth in serving our nation. They dedicated their youthfulness in bringing peace around the world. They were human and made mistakes. But they were more than willing to sacrifice their lives for each other and for the ideals enshrined in our Constitution.
I think we can do better as Christian soldiers, fighting for Christ, united with one another in battle and conquering our pride and sin through humility and love. Many souls are waiting for a new spring time offensive! Let us give them what they seek: unity, peace and most of all, Christ.