presence or absent?
"We should not absent ourselves from the assembly, as some do, but encourage one another; and this all the more because you see that the Day draws near." —Hebrews 10:25
When we gather in Jesus' name, He has promised to be with us in a special way (Mt 18:20). In Jesus' special presence, we are more deeply united with Him and with one another. In this deeper unity, we have greater knowledge of and openness to God's will. Therefore, when we pray together, we express better the will of God, and our prayers are answered (Mt 18:19). In this great prayer-power, we are encouraged and roused to love and good deeds (Heb 10:24-25). In His presence, unity, will, intercession, and power, we are gathered as Jesus' disciples were gathered in the upper room before the first Christian Pentecost (see Acts 1:14).
When the members of Christ's Body repeatedly resist the temptation to absent themselves from the assembly, we will see a new Pentecost, hasten the final coming of Christ (2 Pt 3:12), and be ready for the end of the world and His coming (see Heb 10:25). When spouses get together for prayer, when families gather to hear God's Word, when Christian communities cover the earth, when churches are packed for daily Mass, when prayer groups are abounding, then we will see God's glory. Therefore, make any sacrifices necessary so as not to absent yourself from the assembly.
Prayer: Father, may I never imply by the choices I make that I don't need the other parts of Christ's Body (see 1 Cor 12:21).
Promise: "In the measure you give you shall receive, and more besides." —Mk 4:24
Praise: Tony had no money to pay his bills when he was laid off. He refused to panic, and believed God would provide. On the day his bills were due, three separate individuals visited him to pay off old debts, which totalled the amount of what he owed.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape What is Christian Community? on audio AV 76-1 or video V-76.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 30, 2014
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