15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Every basketball team is looking for the next Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant or LeBron James who can immediately improve their franchise and win championships for them. Every TV station is looking for the next Kris Aquino or Dingdong Dantes or Coco Martin who can be the face of their company and give them the No. 1 rating. Every playwright is looking for the next Julie Andrews or Elaine Paige or Lea Salonga who can make their musical play a hit on Broadway. Organizations and personalities are turning to a particular individual with the hopes that this individual will bring them success.
Looking for the right person, seeking success or some special benefits from a particular individual is very common among us. All of us, in one way or another, are looking for the right person: the right man or woman to marry, the right partner to have business with, the right physician to take care of us, the right adviser to ask and to guide us, the right politician to elect and lead us, perhaps, even the right priest to go to and listen to. It seems that we are always looking for the right person who will bring us some special benefits or who will meet a particular need we have.
Perhaps St. Paul had something like this in mind when he wrote: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing.” “In him we have redemption… in accord with the riches of his grace he lavished upon us.” This is part of today’s second reading.
What Paul seems to be telling us in this passage is this: God is the only One who can satisfy all our deepest human needs. Why? Because God “has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing.” God, in Jesus Christ, alone can give us the grace we need in every relationship and engagement we have, in every circumstance and situation we find ourselves in, in every difficulty and challenge we face. God is the Right Person – the only one – to depend our life on.
We must honestly examine ourselves about this matter – and ask: Are we letting God bless us in Christ with every spiritual blessing?
When we feel jealous, envious, discontent, or unsatisfied, when we are tempted to complain and grumble, do we allow Christ to bring to mind the blessings we receive?
When we are isolated, lonely, or homesick, do we allow Christ to make his presence felt and allow ourselves to experience his companionship?
When we are beset by worry or get depressed because of some disappointment and failure, do we allow Christ to give us comfort and consolation?
When we are struggling with temptations or doubts about our faith, do we allow Christ to strengthen us and enlighten us? Christ alone can satisfy all our deepest human needs in a complete way.
God “has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing.” Frederick E. Marsh has enumerated some of God’s blessings:
An acceptance that can never be questioned. (Ephesians 1:6)
An inheritance that can never be lost. (I Peter 1:3-5)
A deliverance that can never be excelled. (2 Corinthians l:10)
A grace that can never be limited. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
A hope that can never be disappointed. (Hebrews 6:18, 19)
A bounty that can never be withdrawn. (I Colossians 3:21-23)
A joy that need never be diminished. (John 15:11)
A nearness to God that can never be reversed. (Ephesians 2:13)
A peace that can never be disturbed. (John 14:27)
A righteousness that can never be tarnished. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
A salvation that can never be canceled. (Hebrews 5:9)
How are we to respond to these blessings? St. Paul exhorts us to praise and thank God. We are to praise and thank God the Father for blessing us in Christ with every spiritual blessing.
A thankful heart has plenty of room for God. When we thank God for the many pleasures he provides, we affirm that HE IS GOD, from whom all blessings come. St. Paul says that as Christians we can rejoice even in tough times because we have faith and hope in God and because we know that God is acting on behalf, working in our lives, bringing us to the best possible place.
Let us remember this: Happy moments, praise God. Difficult moments, seek God. Quiet moments, worship God. Painful moments, trust God. Every moment, thank God.