Scripture readings for March 16

God has created all of us for Heaven. He calls each one of us by name and gives us the grace we need to follow him; to do His holy will so we can share eternal friendship with Him. What’s even more beautiful is when we are obedient to the holy will of God, He allows us to be instrumental in helping others to get to heaven.

The reading from Genesis recounts the calling of Abraham by God. Abraham is promised three things if he answers the call to leave his family and homeland in order to establish a covenant with Him: a great nation, a great name, and worldwide blessing. Because Abraham said “yes” and was obedient to God, despite the trials that came his way, we see how God not only fulfills His promises, but we are affected – the gates of heaven have been opened to us!

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Beginning with his beloved son Isaac and fulfilled by Moses, God establishes a great nation through Abraham.  God’s promise of a great name was fulfilled through the royal dynasty established by King David. This royal dynasty is the line from which the savior of the world would come. Thus the promise of worldwide blessing or the salvation of man was fulfilled and offered to all people by the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ who established the universal church – the Catholic Church. It is through the church that God continues to pour out his graces in a very concrete way through the celebration of sacraments. The sacraments give us a participation in the life of Christ and strengthen us on our road to heaven.

St. Paul reminds us that this road is not easy but to carry our crosses uniting our suffering with Christ: “Beloved: Bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God. He saved us and called us to a holy life, not according to our works but according to his own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began…” (2Tim 1:8b-9) It was God’s plan that you and I be placed where we are and at this point in time to be holy – to be a light to others around us. From experience we know that a life in imitation of Christ is not easy. This is our share in the cross and also our path to sanctity. There is no resurrection without death…without a dying to ourselves in order to let Christ shine through us more. Our “Yes!” and complete cooperation with God’s calling for us will not only bring us closer to our heavenly destination, but it will be instrumental in bringing all those Christ has touched through us to that eternal wedding feast! We must become holy to allow ourselves to be a channel of His grace.

The Transfiguration of Christ is just a glimpse of what is to come! We must unite ourselves to Christ and avail ourselves of the sacraments, especially that of the Eucharist.  Let us follow the example of Abraham, Mary our Mother, St. Paul, and the countless saints before us who, in humble obedience, gave their “Yes!” when God called them to be holy.

–Helen Almeter served 3 years as a missionary with FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) at the University of Maryland, worked three years as the Director of Campus Ministry for the Catholic Diocese of Savannah, and is currently the Director of Religious Education for St. Matthew Parish in Statesboro, GA.