Scripture: 1Tim1,15-17; Resp. Psalm: Ps113,1-7; Gosp. Accl.: Jn14,23; Gospel: Lk6,43-49
The immortal words written in today's First Reading were written by one whose life had gone full circle. They were written by a man who came to faith very late in his life but who, after his conversion, used the rest of his life to cover lost ground.
In our First Reading today, the word tells us the fundamental reason why Jesus came: to save sinners. St. Paul acknowledged that he was a terrible sinner but that sometime in his life, he received mercy from God. The Lord Jesus forgave him his sins.
For Paul, old things passed away and he became a new creature of grace. The life of Paul thus demonstrated and became an example of how patient God is with sinners. Paul's life became a beacon to all sinners on the immensity of God's compassion and love.
Paul praised the mercy of the Lord who called him out of the darkness of sin to the kingdom of light and showed that this action demonstrated God's perfect patience to all those who would believe in Him for eternal life. The glory for the life of Paul, the life of grace he had come to as a result of his conversion, belonged to Christ alone.
This is because no good could have come out of Paul if Christ had not encountered him. In fact, what we know about this man is that before the Risen Lord encountered him and showed him how wrong a direction he was focused on, he was capable of the vilest of all acts.
The life of Paul shows us what the grace of God can do in the life of a sinner. From the moment the Lord encountered him, Paul became a good tree that bore good fruits. From the good treasure of his heart, Paul produced good. Our Lord had already taught in today's gospel that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
The gospel today thus makes us understand that it is important to do what the Lord tells us; it is important to follow His dictates and commands. When we do this, we are like a house built on solid foundation. When we do this, we demonstrate and show ourselves out as wise people.
St. Paul put these words of our Lord to practise in his entire life. So also did Saints Cornelius and Cyprian. The destiny of these two great Saints became linked at a period of great trials and tribulations for the church. Cornelius was Pope and Cyprian the Bishop of Carthage, the great and highly prestigious diocese in North Africa.
Both Saints became leaders in the Church at a period when heretical teachings were ravaging the bedrock of orthodox and true teachings on the faith. Both courageously withstood these false positions and both gave their lives to testify to their faith in Christ during the persecution of Emperor Valerian.
We have these sterling examples of worthy Christian lives set before us today. Their lives demonstrate to us what grace can achieve in the lives of believers who turn themselves over to God. No matter the state we are in right now. The mercy and forgiveness are eager to encounter us.
What we need do is to open ourselves up to God, empty ourselves of our pride and let Christ in. God wants to do something new in our lives. He wants to bring us to real life. Are we ready to allow him today? Are we ready to let Him have His way in our lives?
Let us pray: "O God, who gave Saints Cornelius and Cyprian to your people as diligent shepherds and valiant Martyrs, grant that, through their intercession, we may be strengthened in faith and constancy and spend ourselves without reserve for the unity of the Church." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always. Happy weekend.