How do we personalize salvation? We do, don’t we, or do we not personalize it? Perhaps a better set of questions might be, “What does it mean to me?” or “What’s in it for me?” Let’s face it. Those questions/concerns govern much of our lives; should we be surprised that they come into play with our salvation?
In today’s first reading, Baruch, secretary to the great prophet Jeremiah, addresses the heavenly city of Jerusalem: God will show all the earth your splendor… look to the east and see your children gathered from the east and the west at the word of the Holy One… for God is leading Israel in joy by the light of His glory, with His mercy and justice for company. These words echo the book of Revelation where it describes the descent of the New Jerusalem and the establishment of the eternal Kingdom at the end of time.
St. Paul tells us in the second reading that he is confident that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. He speaks to each of us individually and collectively. It is worth reflecting on the good work that God continues to perform in me. It is worthwhile to see how I have changed by the Grace of God—His life in me—but, at the same time, these reflections should lead me to recognize that I am not alone and that my relationships are important to my salvation.
It is true that salvation is a personal and individual matter. I cannot force others to believe and accept the redemption that Jesus gained for each of us but I can do what I can to show the joy of that redemption to others and lead, by words and action, others to Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. After all, as John the Baptist proclaims in his announcement of the Christ: “…all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”