As I read through this week’s Bible readings, I am reminded of an old saying my Grandmother would quote, “The meek shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). In studying the following passages, we are reminded that “Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Joel 2:32). Those whom He calls, will not only be saved, but shall also carry His message to the rest of the people, for in their meekness and humbleness, they shall be rewarded. In reading Paul’s letter to Timothy hints at this fact. That he has endured persecutions of all kinds that have generated wear and tear on his body, mind and soul, traipsing all over the Roman world preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul has had many encounters defending the gospel but he realizes that the race was all worth it. He says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
“As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing. At my first defense no one came to my support, but all deserted me. May it not be counted against them! But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and save me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
“He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.” “
We are reminded here that it is not they who seemingly flaunt their righteousness that God calls, but those who may at first appear to be the least deserving of us to receive God’s blessing and grace. “ Then afterward I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female slaves, in those days, I will pour out my spirit. “ (Joel 2:28-29).
In the parable as told in Luke, we are cautioned to always remember that though we may follow the rules set down by man, or by a certain Church, or even our local pastor, it is no guarantee that we will have a place in Heaven. It is what is truly in our heart, whether we be saint or sinner, prostitute or preacher, homeless vagrant or humble Sister, that assures us the blessings and grace of our loving Father.