30 September, Wednesday — Only those who present themselves and follow the right path will enter God’s kingdom

Sep 30 – Memorial for St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor

St. Jerome (347-419) led a misspent youth. He later converted in theory, being baptised in 365, and then had a true conversion when he studied theology. He was a monk, and revised the Latin text of the Bible. The result of his 30 years of work was the Vulgate translation, which is still in use. He is a Doctor of the Church and Father of the Church. Since his own time, he has been associated in the popular mind with scrolls, writing, cataloguing, translating, etc. This led to those who work in such fields taking him as their patron – a man who knew their lives and problems.

– Patron Saint Index

Job 9:1-13,14-16
Lk 9:57-62

Jesus said to him, ‘Once the hand is laid on the plough, no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.

Followership involves dedication and a spiritedness of purpose, a combination of insightfulness and commitment. The role of a shepherd is guidance and the flock is tuned to promote his work through obedience; this is what followership represents. Going further, obedience detests retreat, opposition and aberration in matters of God’s interest because there is no alternative to truth. Followers of Christ, particularly the pastors, who serve as shepherds, cannot look back while guiding His flock. And looking back could amount to consenting to dejection, something not pleasing to God. Looking back, in its scriptural sense and understanding, portends nostalgic imagination in following God. It involves partaking and ensuing in the hindrances that serve as a wedge in following Christ. Situations of absurdity exist and the attendant consideration of looking and pretending not to see that our sinful ways of proclaiming ‘God’s duties and miracles’ inhibit our potential to inherit a life of grace. This is prevalent in our society.

Today, many people are looking for God and His miracles, not in truth and guidance of the Church, but in make-shift arrangements and profanation; they imbibe artful use of magical connotation and falsehood. Recently in Nigeria, some four pastors at different locations and period of time contrived the healing of a young woman with a withered limb. The same young lady that feigned deformity appeared and was engaged by the different pastors in cooked-up healing and deliverances meant to cast spells on their church members in promoting their ministries and falsehood as acts of God. When the pulpit travesty went viral, the government stepped in to protect the people from ‘spiritual fraud’ and the lame-duck pastors involved saw the foolishness in their hollow expedition. They will face God’s court after ongoing human trials. It means that at the end, irrespective of our different calls, only those who present themselves and follow the right path will enter God’s kingdom.

(Today’s Oxygen by Julius Otusorochukwu Dike, JP)

Prayer: Our Father and Lord, guide us through the path of truth in our worship, and take away the spirit of lies in our lives and reposition us to rely on you only. And as shepherds, pastors and followers, teach us to present your words and teachings in truth and in your fear for you own the universe and life. We pray for your guidance Father, Amen.

Thanksgiving:  Our Father and Lord in Heaven, we thank you for granting us the spirit of truth and reliability in you. Continue to guide our steps as we grow and renew our commitment in you. We thank you Lord, for granting our pleas. Amen.

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