Last week, we spent time reflecting on the Ninth Step Promises and their similarity to the message expressed by Saint Paul’s Letter to the Philippians. This week’s second reading builds on this theme while acknowledging the value of sharing experience, strength, and hope:
“I know how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need. I can do all things in him who strengthens me. Still, it was kind of you to share in my distress” (Philippians 4:12-14).
Whether we find ourselves in a time of desolation or abundance, the spiritual principles of 12-step recovery and the sacramental life of the Church guide us through all seasons. Trusting that He will make all things right takes time, practice, and the support of our fellows. We often find tangible comfort from those who have walked the path before us.
Few know powerlessness more than individuals and family members impacted by addiction. We’ve wrestled with layers of denial that make it challenging to see the truth from the lies. As darkness ensues, we must reach for the helping hand of God and others to bring us to stable ground. In John’s Gospel, Christ promises, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you” (John 15:7).
We are called to the banquet of the Lord, regardless of our social status or other qualifying factors. God just wants us to show up. Similar to the way we gather from all walks of life for recovery meetings, we should expect to find some unusual and peculiar guests. Jesus summarizes this phenomenon as he enlightens the social and religious elite of his time by telling a parable of a king who throws an extravagant party for his son:
“He said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.’ The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests” (Matthew 22:8-10).
Whether facing seasons of joy, sadness, pain, or freedom, the Lord is our shepherd. He finds us, strengthens us, and asks that we do the same for others. We are invited to respond to His call and arrive at His banquet, one day at a time.
- How have you weathered the highs and lows of recovery? What spiritual tools have been helpful to find peace during challenging times and balance when all seems to be going well?
- What is going on in your life today that demands your trust in God and a willingness to take the next right step?
Sunday Mass Readings
First Reading: Isaiah 25:6-10a
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6
Second Reading: Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20
Gospel: Matthew 22:1-14
Reflection by Scott W.