Wednesday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time, September 30
When We Reflect upon the Faith Which We Have Embraced, Do We Just Say That We Are Christian, or Do We Truly Live This Faith in the Way That God Calls Us?
“Jesus answered him, ‘Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head’” – a response which our Lord gave for all those who follow Him, but are lukewarm in their committal to true discipleship and in their relationship with God.
How often have we witnessed someone sitting on a park bench or on a sidewalk, begging for some form of help? Over the past year in the United States alone, almost 600,000 persons were homeless – people without a place to call their own, people reaching out for food and seeking refuge from the elements. And out of all of them, for each one is a child of God, there were included in this number thousands of families, including children!
And the numbers on a world-wide scale, including undeveloped nations, are staggering – somewhere between 100-500 million displaced and suffering people, and each and every one of them is a child of God!
In America, there are many reasons that lead people to homelessness: failed relationships, domestic violence, running away from home or foster care, being released from hospitals or prisons, a general or dishonorable discharge from the military, the death of a spouse, bankruptcy, apartment evictions, mortgage foreclosures, and the list continues.
Many of these people are not just homeless, for there are other complications in one’s life which makes a person more vulnerable. Nearly one-third of all people who are considered homeless also have mental health issues to some degree; many others end up suffering from alcohol or drug dependencies. Unless someone receives help at the right place and at the right time, the reality of homelessness can become a very real concern.
And the process of understanding these issues and the plight of the homeless person is not easily understood by the average individual in today’s society. And it can also hit very close to home.
I am sure that we have all heard this age-old expression time and time again, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” And this saying is so true.
I believe I have written about this in the past, but I would like to share this true story with you once again. There was once a college professor who was married to a lovely woman, and they had three beautiful children. They were living a happy life, and they had a nice home, two cars, and all the possessions that a normal, middle class family would normally have.
Sadly, one day, the wife and all the children were killed in a car accident, and the grief which this husband and father felt was so overwhelming and debilitating that he slowly lost interest in everything, and eventually ended up losing all that he had once had – his job, his home and all his possessions.
In the end, he became one of the homeless, living on the streets, begging for food and clothing – just to survive.
“There, but for the grace of God…”
Loving one another, helping one another is not difficult to do, especially with God’s grace guiding and strengthening each of us to live the gift of faith which we have freely been given. But we also know only too well that suffering is a very real part of life – whether that suffering happens to be emotional, physical or spiritual.
And it is the words of today’s psalmist which resonate within the heart and soul of each faithful child of God who is afflicted with suffering, “Daily I call upon you, O LORD; to you I stretch out my hands…with my morning prayer I wait upon you.”
And I am sure that they were words which filled even Job’s heart, about whom we read today, since suffering became a very real part of his life. Having lost everything, especially those whom he loved, left him deeply wounded emotionally. He was overwhelmed with grief and tried to find a reason for his suffering.
Even in the midst of all that he endured, even in the midst of his sorrow and the anger which followed, Job never abandoned God; but in his journey to better understand God’s ways, he came to believe even more so in God’s awesome and majestic wonder, and Job followed Him devotedly for the rest of his days, for which God rewarded him abundantly for his faithfulness.
In the midst of all that we endure throughout life, how do we respond to God? In our sorrows and our sufferings, do we turn to Him with an open heart, or do we turn our backs and abandon Him, rejecting His love and consolation?
Our Lord says to each of us in today’s Gospel, “Follow me.” In our response to follow Jesus, do we abandon our will and embrace His, placing our Lord first and foremost as the focal point in our daily lives? Or do we hesitate first with excuses, placing conditions on our relationship with the God who created us, with the God who redeemed us and sanctifies us each day?
The responses we read in the Gospel, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father” and “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home” are representative of those conditions which many have placed on their union with God, in which both selfish and worldly concerns are placed as a priority to the needs of our soul – for the world is filled with subtle and not-so-subtle seductions which diminish our relationship with Jesus Christ.
In other words, when we reflect upon the faith which we have embraced, do we just say that we are Christian, or do we truly live a blessed Christian life? Our Lord is calling out to both you and me to live this faith we profess. He is asking that we become the extension of His Heart and Soul in a world which oftentimes appears soulless.
He is asking that we embrace the poor as He did. He is asking that we reach out to all those who are disadvantaged and the suffering in our society, as He did in His. And He is asking that we do all this unconditionally with a selfless giving of love for all our brothers and sisters, regardless of race, creed, color, religious or political persuasion.
“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
As a faithful Christian people truly living what it means to be Christ-like in our daily lives, may our Lord Jesus ALWAYS find a place to rest within our hearts! †
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
- “…someone said to [Jesus], ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head’” (Luke 9:57b-58)
- “And to another [Jesus] said, ‘Follow me.’ But he replied, ‘Lord, let me go first and bury my father.’” (Luke 9:59)
- “And another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.’” (Luke 9:61)
- “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20)
- “All day I call on you, LORD; I stretch out my hands to you…in the morning my prayer comes before you.” (Psalm 88:10bc, 14b)
- “…how can anyone be in the right before God? …God is wise in heart and mighty in strength.” (Job 9:2b, 4a)
- “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)
- “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all encouragement, who encourages us in our every affliction, so that we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
- “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another.” (Colossians 3:12-13a)
- “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
- “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” (Matthew 10:8bc)
Prayer for the Day
“May I be no man’s enemy, and may I be the friend of that which is Eternal and abides. May I never quarrel with those nearest me; and, if I do, may I be reconciled quickly.
“May I never devise evil against any man;
if any devise evil against me, may I escape uninjured
and without the need of hurting him.
“May I love, seek, and attain only that which is good. May I wish for all men’s happiness and envy none. May I never rejoice in the ill-fortune of one who has wronged me.
“When I have done or said what is wrong, may I never wait for the rebuke of others, but always rebuke myself until I make amends.
“…May I respect myself.
May I always tame that which rages within me.
May I accustom myself to be gentle
and never be angry with people because of circumstances.
“May I never discuss who is wickedEusebius (4th century Bishop of Caesarea and Church Father)
and what wicked things he has done,
but know good men and follow in their footsteps,
through Christ our Lord. Amen.”