Aloha Friday Message – October 27, 2017 – Who was that who called?

1743AFC102717 – Who was that who called?

Read it online here, please. And please, when you visit there, use one of the social media links at the bottom of the page to share this post. Thank you! And remember, we now have a READER VIEW available, so share this link or this email often. PLEASE BE SURE TO READ THROUGH TO THE END SO YOU CAN SEE OUR PRAYER REQUESTS AND MEMORIAL. THANK YOU!

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! Grace and Peace to each of you from God our Father and our Lord, Jesus the Christ, in the Power of the Holy Spirit.

1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 For the people of those regions [Macedonia and Achaia] report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.

1743AFC102717 – Who was that who called?

Read it online here, please. And please, when you visit there, use one of the social media links at the bottom of the page to share this post. Thank you! And remember, we now have a READER VIEW available, so share this link or this email often. PLEASE BE SURE TO READ THROUGH TO THE END SO YOU CAN SEE OUR PRAYER REQUESTS AND MEMORIAL. THANK YOU!

1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 For the people of those regions [Macedonia and Achaia] report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! Grace and Peace to each of you from God our Father and our Lord, Jesus the Christ, in the Power of the Holy Spirit. This is from the second reading for the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Let me begin with a little background on this passage and the book of 1 Thessalonians in general.

Thessalonica (alsoThessaloniki) – Θεσσαλονίκη, (Thessaloniké) {thes-sal-on-ee’-kay}, is currently the second-largest city in Greece and the capital of Greek Macedonia. Paul went there with Silvanus (Silas) after Paul and Barnabas had a heated disagreement about taking “John called Mark” with them (See Acts 15:36–41). Later, Paul called upon Timothy to travel with him. This was what is usually referred to as Paul’s Second Missionary Journey. They made many converts in Philippi and then began teaching and preaching in Thessalonica. In both locations, they were harassed and assaulted by both Greeks and Jews who opposed their message. Paul moved on to Berea and then Athens while Timothy and Silvanus continued working in Thessalonica. Paul sent word for Timothy to rejoin Paul and to report on the conditions in Thessalonica.

That report prompted Paul’s first letter to that faith community. In this letter, Paul expresses his thankfulness for their perseverance in faith and optimism in their willingness to accept not only the power of the Gospel, but also the responsibilities of living according to the Gospel he preached so patiently to them. He insists that they recall the selfless love shown by the missionaries and to model their behavior after those recollections. At the time, there were numerous roving hucksters of “new” religions – many of them heretical involutions of The Way. Paul therefore reemphasized not only the substance of his gospel but also his gentle approach to teaching it. He asked them to recall and consider the content of his message as well as the form in which it was presented. By considering both, Paul hoped they would come to realize that in and through the Gospel, God’s grace is always generously given and is unequivocally powerful.

Paul did not want any of the early coverts to forget the power of the Gospel. He knew that many of them would find it difficult to remain faithful in the face of vigorous persecution. He emphasized the absolute availability of salvation to all who would accept the gift and the responsibilities of using the gift. We might recall the words of Jesus when he was instituting the Eucharist. When he blessed and offered the chalice, the gospels recount he said the blood he would shed would be “for many: Matthew 26:27-28 27 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28 for this is my blood of the [new] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Paul expounded on that later in 1 Timothy 2:5-6: For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all – this was attested at the right time. Many (all) are called, but few are chosen. This is stated in the Parable of the King’s Wedding Feast in Matthew 22:1-14. We’ve studied this before and commented on how the family giving the wedding also gave all the guests a special garment to wear at the wedding feast. One guy showed up without the freely-given garment; this was a terrible insult, worse even than those who were the first invited later refused to come to the wedding at all. The point of the lesson is that God give us everything we need, every “good and perfect gift,” to make it easier to answer his call. Many are called; not all accept. Who is calling us, even now? Yes, it’s true, God is still calling us and he’s given us everything – absolutely everything – we need to answer the call; so many gifts, and still we squander them – including his unrelenting love! I know. I, too, have ignored it, refused it, squandered it. Like the foolish steward who did little with the great gift he was given, I have failed to be a good steward of the many gifts he gives me, especially his love.

He has given me so much love that I can’t keep track of it, and I can’t give it away fast enough and deeply enough to reduce the overflow. And even with all those blessings, I can still act like the unfaithful steward and can be a real jerk, someone even I don’t like to be around. I have been entrusted with much; the expectations of my Master, my family, and my friends are high; my performance under those expectations often fails. The recompense for failure is loss – loss of gifts, loss of respect, loss of resources, and usually loss of comfort. This recompense, however, never includes loss of Love. It seems no matter how much I lose anywhere in my life, Love floods in to fill the void, and then the Love nurtures and restores the gifts I have wasted.

It is scary to think that having received much, I must meet higher expectations. All I have to do is choose to be generous with my gifts, and if I can try my hardest to be as generous as my Master is, then all will be well for he more than replaces what I give to him and to others.

If it is scary to realize I have frittered away my gifts, it is just as scary to see gifted people (meaning of course everyone in the world for we all have gifts) ignoring and even abusing their gifts, squandering them on everything that is dissatisfying. “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” is a poignant reality. It is sad, shocking even, to know that all of us are called to Life in the Spirit, but only a few accept that gift. Indeed, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14) “The Call” here is perhaps not what we might think. The Gospel is present among us ready to be heard and acted upon. Do you remember what the first requirement of the Gospel is? Yes, you are right: Repent. In the Parable of the King’s Wedding Feast mentioned above in Matthew 22:1-14, The King’s invited guests snubbed him, so he ordered his servants to bring in strangers, stragglers, and seat them for the banquet. Then there is a strange incident of a man who did not wear a wedding garment. How could he? He was drafted as an impromptu guest. Yet the other guests were prepared. What does this mean? How does one prepare for the Wedding Banquet of our King? What is our “wedding garment?” First of all, it is our repentance. The man had not changed his apparel before entering the feast and for that he was kicked out. He was called but not chosen because he dishonored the call. He had not changed before entering the feast; the unrepentant also have not changed and are not prepared for the Wedding Banquet to which all are called.

Who is calling us? Did you know that It’s not just God? Satan has literally flooded our lives with entertaining little examples of what a great guy he is. Through movies, “mediums,” astrologers, cartoon characters, TV series, gurus with meditation tricks, and even right-in-your-face fantasy worlds inhabited and ruled by demons. Demonic possession is made to appear cool. Sin is downplayed as personal choice and it is politically incorrect to even mention sin. Satan has the World telling us religion is poison. (Hence Karl Marx wrote: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.“) The faithful can find contradictions to The Truth everywhere. Even among Christians there are doctrinal divisions so starkly in contrast that an outsider might wonder if Christianity is really any different from Marx’s concept of all religions.

As a Catholic, I often see or hear things that make me wonder how Christian Christians are. Some Catholics don’t understand their faith at all. Many Christian Evangelicals don’t understand that Catholics really are Christians. Growing up I can remember being warned against “those idolaters.” The fact that those divisions and contentions exist is not as important as the source of those positions! Christianity has had some spectacularly bad moments – years, decades, even perhaps centuries – and yet it endures, it spreads, it grows in knowledge and wisdom, and it sustains Life by proclaiming Truth. In this era of Mankind – which many are beginning to believe are indeed “the latter times” – the advancing tide of evil claims billions of innocent lives through abortion, euthanasia, war, genocide, and – sadly – just rampant indifference. Satan wants us to believe it’s hopeless, wants us to believe he’s an OK guy, wants us to believe nothing else matters but our own comfort; and then he works as hard as he can on making us uncomfortable with everything that is Truth.

Matthew 24:10- 1210 Then many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold.

Heed The Call, the Gospel Call. Paul reminded the Thessalonians – and us – that “in and through the Gospel, God’s grace is always generously given and is unequivocally powerful.” There are many voices calling us, but only One is True. We are to turn from our idolatry of Worldly things – power, fame, popularity, money, political jockeying, self-righteousness – and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming. You have been called; I have been called; we have been called to repent, be baptized (in water and fire) and to believe the Gospel. What a gift, this Gift of Love! How, then, are we to answer The Call? It’s simple really. The Bible tells us so. Jesus summarized it for us in Matthew 22:37-40 37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Who’s calling us? Are we listening? I’ll somewhere list’ning for my name. (↔ Music Link) How about you?

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

Biblical languages inserts from Bible Hub (Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages) Visit at http://biblehub.com

In Memoriam:
Maurice Wayne South
Mentor, leader, Belovéd friend, MBN member
Affectionately known as “Encyclopedia South”
REQUIEM IN PACEM

Today would have been my mother’s 91st birthday.
Rest in Peace Zeta Lorraine Lamke-Todd

Share-A-Prayer

AD – continuing her fight against breast cancer and making progress

AL – one of my godsons. He’s a great kid and I would like to cover him with many blessings of love

ALG – recently diagnoses with breast cancer. Lost insurance. If you can help with Go-Fund-Me, let me know

BC – a fellow coworker in The New Pentecost who needs health, invitations to conduct missions, and who gives all of us much prayerful support

MC – working on getting back to Jesus

EP – MBN brother in faith with multiple chronic illnesses and yet has that tireless love for Jesus

FO – part of our AZ family staying in remission; HOWEVER – she is experiencing failures multiple organ-systems. Please pray for her and for her caregivers and family.

RB – a sister in MT facing multiple surgeries, multiple chronic health issues, and much in need of a new place to live AQAHP with access to better healthcare and better neighbors

DP – cancer survivor, husband with Alzheimer’s. She really needs some respite!

ICD – continuing her very aggressive chemo regimen. We’re praying for sufficient success that surgery will be unnecessary

JR – looking forward to meeting her infant son in a few months. Praying for uneventful pregnancy

KT and hubby ET – K has very fragile bones and history of multiple painful back fractures. Hubby E is an amazing and loving caregiver

KL – the first friend Crucita and I found at St. Catherine’s. Blessings for her generously loving support

M&KW – K has multiple orthopedic problems. M not only provides her with essential care and support but also is an amazing steward in our Parish

NS – also multiple chronic congenital health issues. Got Hep C at about age 10. Now needs liver transplant. Hope, healing, and health, please.

TO – reaching out to know the Lord. Pray for an open heart and mind to hear The Call.

And of course, we pray for everyone in the MBN – everyone who prays for us and everyone who asks for our prayers.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Belovéd!

May our Almighty Everliving God continue to richly bless you in all things and all ways with his Perfect and Generous Love! (You want to get that call, please?)

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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