"By the grace of God, I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10)
50 years in Your Word
January 28-February 3, 2013
Objective of the week: That like St. Paul, we may grow day by day in our faith in Jesus and learn to rely constantly on the grace of God at work in us.
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Last week St. Paul’s conversion experience was introduced to us and the significance of his life in the configuration of the Verbum Dei charism and spirituality.
This week, we will continue deepening on St Paul’s life but this time, turning our focus on who is St Paul as an Apostle of Christ. Every day we will be deepening on the different characteristics of St. Paul-- apostle of faith, of grace, of true confidence in the Lord, lives before the God, father-shepherd to his people, has zeal and passion to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles. – so as to “imitate him as he imitates Christ.” (1 Cor 11:1)
As most of you know, St Paul’s spiritual journey has not been easy. There are lots of evidences in many parts of his letters wherein we can see that his faith was tested many times- his constant struggle to fight against both the internal and the external forces…the constant battle that he experience between his old and the new self (Rom 7:15-17)--but despite of everything, he remained firm and faithful because he held on to God’s power and grace rather than to his own strength (cf. 2 Cor 2:10;)
As disciples of Jesus, we too experience the same struggles in our daily life but, which power do we rely on? Whose word and promise do we hold on to?
This week in prayer, let us continue looking at St Paul’s life and become more inspired by his words and his teachings and that like him, may we grow in our faith in Jesus.
Relying constantly on God’s abundant grace, may we continue to let Jesus mold our lives so that we can become the person and Verbum Dei apostle that he wants us to be.
Apostle of Faith
Let us turn away from our fears, doubts and apprehensions in life, and place our trust in Jesus who is faithful in keeping his promises. It is only when our faith in Christ is firm that we can affirm the faith of those around us.
Acts 27: 22-26 “But now I beg you, take courage! Not one of you will lose your life; only the ship will be lost. For last night and angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship came to me and said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul! You must stand before the emperor. And God in his goodness to you has separated the lives of all those who are sailing with you.’ So take courage, men! For I trust in God that it will be just as I was told.
Apostle of Grace
No matter who we are or where we come from, God’s love has the power to transform us from within if, like St. Paul, we let him to do so. In prayer, let us allow God’s grace to work in us so that he can also work through us.
1 Corinthians 15:3-11 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective. Indeed, I have toiled harder than all of them; not I, however, but the grace of God that is with me. Therefore, whether it be I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
Apostle of True Confidence in the Lord
Someone said: “Do everything as if everything depends on you but knowing that everything depends on God.” This is the message that St. Paul wants to convey to us in this today’s reading.
As faithful apostle, St. Paul is aware that he is simply God’s instrument and that the one who is at work in the lives of those he is trying to serve is God himself. What about us? Do we also have the same confidence as we continue to serve the people that God has entrusted to us?
Philippians 1 :6-8 “ I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. It is right that I should think this way about all of you, because I hold you in my heart, you who are all partners with me in grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the affection of Jesus Christ.
Apostle who lives his life before the Lord
We are to live our life according to what the Lord wants us to be and not according to what the other people tell us. Stop pleasing others for we are called to do things that please Jesus. When we live before the Lord, we experience the freedom of the spirit!
1 Corinthians 4: 1-4: This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. 2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. Now, I am not at all concerned about being judged by you or by any human standard; I don’t even pass judgment on myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not prove that I am really innocent. The Lord is the one who passes judgment on me.
Apostle who is like a father-shepherd to the people
In this today’s reading, St. Paul compares his pastoral care to that of a nursing mother. As Verbum Dei disciples, how are we living our spiritual fatherhood and motherhood?
1 Thessalonians 2: 7-8 "but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us."
Apostle of zeal and passion for bringing the Gospel to the Gentiles
Here in this reading, St. Paul introduces himself as an apostle to the Gentiles, this means to be an apostle to the nations. Today, may we allow God to use our lives-e.g. to be his hand, his feet and mouth – in order to carry out his work and make him known to all. In prayer, let us ask Jesus, who are the concrete people that he wants to save or to reach through us?
Romans 11:13 “ I am speaking now to you Gentiles: As long as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I will take pride in my work.
4th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Jeremiah 1:4-5
2nd Reading 1 Corinthians 13: 4-13
Gospel : Luke 4: 21-30
Weekly Prayer Guidelines
Read this week's guidelines to help you deepen in the Word of God for today.