24th Week in Ordinary Time
. . . taken up in glory. (1 Timothy 3:16)
If you were reading an e-mail or letter from a good friend and that person wrote, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,” you would almost immediately know that she was referencing the hymn. We have all probably sung this song at church and heard it on the radio.
What might surprise you is that today’s first reading is also a hymn, one that may be unfamiliar to us but was very familiar to Paul’s readers. Just like many of today’s hymns, it outlines some of the key aspects of the Christian faith. It proclaims that there is only one God (in contrast to many pagan gods). It describes how Jesus became Messiah, not only for Israel but for all peoples, and how he was “taken up in glory” to sit at the right hand of God (1 Timothy 3:16).
These few lines from an ancient hymn give us a glimpse into how the early Christians worshipped. The interesting part is how similar it is to how we worship two thousand years later. Our liturgy at Mass contains many similar statements. Just think about the Creed, for example, or the Gloria. Many Christian songs contain proclamations about what Jesus did on the cross and how he rose again.
These similarities are not just a coincidence. They reveal the faithfulness of God over all these centuries. Despite historical and political changes, wars and persecution, and the rise and fall of countless nations, the basic core of our faith has remained the same. God’s light has continued to shine, and his praise continues to resound in the hearts of his people.
This can give us great comfort. As we look at the dramatic changes unfolding in the world, we can know that the beauty and the truth of the gospel message will continue to shine. God has always been faithful to his people, and he will continue to be faithful right up to the very end.
Let’s take today to thank the Lord for his faithfulness. Let’s thank him for touching those early Christians who passed on their faith and for touching our lives too. And the next time you sing a hymn at church or recite the Creed with your parish community, remember that God will keep his light shining, no matter what.
“Thank you, Lord, for your faithfulness to all generations.”
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