Nothing outside ourselves can separate us from God

October 31, 2019 – Thursday 30th Week in Ordinary Time

(In this reflection, a young professional shares his experiences and affirms the power of the Holy Rosary that changed his life.)

A reading from the Letter of Paul to the Romans (8:31b-39)

Brothers and sisters:
If God is for us, who can be against us?
He did not spare his own Son
but handed him over for us all,
how will he not also give us everything else along with him?
Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones?
It is God who acquits us.
Who will condemn?
It is Christ Jesus who died, rather, was raised,
who also is at the right hand of God,
who indeed intercedes for us.
What will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine,
or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?
As it is written:

For your sake we are being slain all the day;
we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.

No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly
through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor principalities,
nor present things, nor future things,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth,
nor any other creature will be able to separate us
from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke (13:31-35)

Some Pharisees came to Jesus and said,
“Go away, leave this area because Herod wants to kill you.”
He replied, “Go and tell that fox,
‘Behold, I cast out demons and I perform healings today and tomorrow,
and on the third day I accomplish my purpose.
Yet I must continue on my way today, tomorrow, and the following day,
for it is impossible that a prophet should die
outside of Jerusalem.’

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem,
you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you,
how many times I yearned to gather your children together
as a hen gathers her brood under her wings,
but you were unwilling!
Behold, your house will be abandoned.
But I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say,
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

Homily

“If God is for us, who can be against us?… What will separate us from the love of God?”

In fact, nothing outside ourselves can separate us from God. St. Paul affirms this to us today. Not the difficulties in our life, not those people who have hurt us, not those abuses, not those emotional hurts, not our sickness, not calamities and not even death. The love of God is so great that we are bound to him. God’s love is not something that is merely on the head but shown to us in most concrete ways in our life.

This tells us how persistent God’s love is because he reveals himself in every moment of our life. That is why, Jesus’ love for you and for me is not merely a memory of a distant past, but his love is so alive and active. God is loving us now. Hopefully, we too will be able to realize and feel that even in the midst of so much mess we may have in our life at this very moment. God is wanting us to live and be alive in his presence. 

Truly, nothing outside ourselves can separate us from God, but God does not control us. Because God does not impose himself on us, we remain free in our response to Him. If there is one things that can separate us, it is ourselves. When we decide to separate from God and hide ourselves from him, then, we are certainly distancing from his love. When this is done consciously, then, we surely separate ourselves from the very presence of God

This is what we have heard from the Gospel today. Jesus was told to go away and leave because Herod planned to kill him. Many people in Jerusalem especially those in authority rejected him. Jesus was unwelcomed. This was a conscious rejection of God.

Yet, even though Jesus was rejected, still Jesus persistently called them back. This tells us that even God is so persistent in inviting us. 

Today, we also culminate the Rosary Crusade that our Redemptorist Youth Ministry since October 1. Every night we have been in one house to another to visit families in our communities in the parish. Thus, I would like you to listen to our youth sharer on how the Lord invites him to come closer through the Holy Rosary that we have been doing in the past month. Let us welcome Engr. Jun Paul Mamac Inocellas.

In culminating this year Rosary Crusade by the Redemptorist Youth Ministry, let me share to you how the Rosary helps me in my life now as a young professional. 

Way back in the year 2012 when the Rosary Crusade started, I was part of the Parish Youth Coordinating Council and a working student as well. I was a second-year college at that moment taking up my second course, the Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. I was struggling being a student and as an active youth member of the Parish. 

I was emotionally and spiritually weak at that moment, gani dali ra ko madani sa mga temptation atong panahuna. At that time first semester and first term, I got my second failing grade and told myself “undang nalang kaya ko ug eskwela? Lisud naman kaayo ug maka luya!”. When I was about to tell my mother about my grades, na-unhan ko niya ug istorya “Dong! Ana imong papa gikapoy na daw siya ug pangitag kwarta” upat pami gi paeswkela ato nila. Nag padayon si mama, “Mao na Dong paning kamot jud sa pag eskwela samtang kaya sa imong papa bahalag lisud,” knowing that papa didn’t finished his elementaryi was moved at what Mama told me. 

First Semester was about to end and it was October already syempre month of the rosary na. October 1, 2012 the Rosary Crusade started with a Holy Eucharist before we transferred it to the first Chapel. Before the rosary started, the prayer leader asked, “kinsa tong naay petition diha kay atong include sa rosary.” I wondered and asked, “is that possible?” I did not know that, kani laging October ra mo ampo ug rosary sauna unya painit ra ang apas

So, I told the prayer leader about my petitions. First, was for more strength and healthy body to my parents. Second, I asked for the perseverance and endurance in my studies. After that, every time I felt sadness, emptiness, and got worried, I would pray the rosary and felt at peace and comfortable. 

Since then, as I prayed the holy rosary more often, many things changed in my life. All my needs have been answered by God. And I appreciated the many things God gave to me. I am always protected, even when I do not specifically ask for it. The enemy flees the moment I call Mama Mary’s name. My outlook in life has changed and now I truly believed that anything is possible in Him. 

I finished my degree in 7 years with five failing grades, passed the licensure exam and currently working on a real estate developer as a Civil Engineer. Thanks to Mama Mary for her intercession and praise God who has given me strength to conquer all failures in my life.

I encourage you now to start your own journey. The Holy Rosary has changed my life, I hope it changes yours too. To end my Rosary Crusade story let me leave this to you as St. Josemaría Escrivá “The holy Rosary is a powerful weapon. Use it with confidence and you’ll be amazed at the results.” 

What Jun Paul shared to us is a manifestation how God could be so subtle in bringing us back. God is subtle and gentle yet so persistent. God’s love for us is indeed so great and tremendous that he would do everything to bring us closer to him.

Difficult situations are turned into graces. Failures are turned into opportunities. Friendships are turned into doors of conversion. Prayers are turned into blessings.

Whatever difficulty we are experiencing at this moment, never lose hope with yourself or with God because God never loses his hope in us. Let God call you back, and let Mary, Our Mother of Perpetual Help to bring you closer to Jesus. Hinaut pa. 

Jom Baring, CSsR

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A Dose of God Today

A-Dose-of-God-Today : Your Daily Spiritual Nourishment, tries to put into words the thoughts and experiences of the wonder of life through the Holy Scriptures and the many invitations of God today.

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