Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time, July 4
In the Midst of Our Own Sorrows and Sufferings, God is Always There, Holding Us, Supporting Us, Carrying Us When Necessary.
“I know now how devoted you are to God, since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son” – words given to Abraham by an angel after proving his obedience and faith in his God.
When we reflect upon our Readings for today, it is only normal for us to ask ourselves – “Do we have the kind of faith and trust in God that Abraham did? Can we surrender ourselves, to the point of giving up our own ego, our own pride, our very sense of self – so that God may work His Divine will through us?”
Living our faith from childhood to old age is a journey – a journey which oftentimes tests us as we travel through the various peaks and valleys of life. It is a journey which may even stretch our faith to its very limits, especially during those times in our lives when we experience the despair of a failed relationship, the loss of financial security, or when we experience the depths of grief over the loss of a loved one.
Even in the midst of Abraham’s faith and trust in God, I am sure he must have suffered interiorly believing that God was calling Him to offer-up his son. The paralytic in today’s Gospel undoubtedly suffered due to the infirmities of his body. And when you and I look at our world today, what do we see? Untold numbers of people who suffer due to hunger, malnutrition, disease and abuses of almost every sort because of the evil which lurks within the hearts of man.
And where is God in all of this suffering? In those moments of our lives when we find ourselves feeling all alone, when we find ourselves filled with despair and desolation, it is then that God is closest to us – holding us, supporting us, strengthening us – on this side of the eternal!
We know that God is no stranger to our suffering, for He has experienced it Himself in the Person of Jesus Christ, the Eternal Son of God. And, in experiencing it, He understands it and understands how we feel when we find ourselves becoming absorbed in the emotional and physical pains and sorrows which life can sometimes bring.
Faith in God, faith in the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, Jesus Christ, is one of the greatest gifts God has ever given us. This gift is one which is freely given, freely offered to His children, if only we would open our hearts and embrace this most wondrous gift!
As we journey throughout this life, our faith starts as but a tiny seedling, to be watered and nurtured as we grow with God’s Loving Presence within us. And, in time, we begin to recognize that this Jesus – who walked amongst us some two thousand years ago, and who taught us that our God is a God of unfathomable Love and limitless Mercy – is the Eternal Father’s greatest gift to us.
And He gave us an example of this in today’s Gospel Reading, when our Lord says, “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” – and then he cures the paralytic.
Both acts, one of forgiving sins and the healing of paralysis in a young man, are signs of God’s loving, merciful and compassionate kindness which He wishes to show towards His children.
And if we truly carry this faith in Jesus Christ within our hearts, then we fulfill, in both faith and trust, the words which our psalmist sings today in praise of God, “The house of Israel trusts in the LORD; he is their help and their shield.”
In the walk of faith which you and I experience, we begin to realize and appreciate another wondrous gift – the gift of God’s Love – which is made available to us in a very intimate way, in a very real way through the Eucharistic Presence of Jesus Christ offered to us at daily Mass.
For it is the Real Presence of the Risen and Glorious Christ which continues to strengthen and nourish us, for it becomes the very Source and Summit of our life of faith here on this side of Heaven.
In the Eucharist, Jesus continues to support us and carry us throughout our daily journeys, especially during those times in which we find ourselves suffering – those times in which we find ourselves walking through our individual vales of tears bearing our personal crosses.
I am sure that most of us are familiar with the poem “Footprints in the Sand” – a poem about life and the sufferings which we sometimes endure, and it also a poem about an awareness of God’s Presence in our life’s journeys. There are three different versions of this poem; I would like to share with you the original –
“One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky. In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was only one.
“This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord –
“‘You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you the most, have you not been there for me?’
“The Lord replied, ‘The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.’”
Just as God carried and supported Abraham during those times in His life when He needed to feel God’s Presence the most, so, too, is God always with us – supporting us, carrying us, even though we may not be aware of His Presence.
It all comes down to a matter of faith for us to believe that He truly IS at our side, helping us through our times of difficulty. He may be there personally, or He may be there helping us through our Blessed Mother Mary or our Guardian Angel or our patron saint or someone else He has placed in our lives. But the fact remains is that He is ALWAYS there! – comforting us in our sufferings, consoling us in our sorrows, guiding us onto the path which leads to our personal salvation.
In both good times and bad, in times of both joy and sorrow, in those times when our hearts are filled with peace, anxiety or despair, no matter what emotion we may be carrying within us, let us always open our hearts and embrace Jesus’ words within the very depths of our soul – words of comfort, words of support, words which give our spirit an enduring hope –
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.” †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “‘Do not lay your hand on the boy,’ said the angel. ‘Do not do the least thing to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you did not withhold from me your son, your only one.’” (Genesis 22:12)
- “A second time the angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven and said: ‘I swear by my very self, declares the LORD, that because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your son, your only one, I will bless you…” (Genesis 22:15-17a)
- “The house of Israel trusts in the LORD; he is their help and shield.” (Psalm 115:9)
- “They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles’ wings; They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
- “O God, more powerful than all, hear the voice of those in despair. Save us from the power of the wicked, and deliver me from my fear.” (Esther C:30)
- “The righteous cry out, the LORD hears and he rescues them from all their afflictions. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted, saves those whose spirit is crushed. Many are the troubles of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him from them all.” (Psalm 34:18-20)
- “I will always hope in you and add to all your praise. My mouth shall proclaim your just deeds, day after day your acts of deliverance, though I cannot number them all.” (Psalm 71:14-15)
- “We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8)
- “Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)
- “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.” (John 14:1)
- “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.” (Matthew 11:28-29)
Prayer for the Day
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.Psalm 23 (Psalm of the Good Shepherd)
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”