Thursday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time, October 1
May Jesus Help Each of Us to Patiently and Faithfully Accept the Hardships, Adversities and Persecutions Which May Come Our Way in Serving His Divine Will.
We hear Jesus commissioning His disciples in today’s Gospel, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.” – words which hold as much truth today as they did two thousand years ago.
Remembering that I had written about this once before, there was once a TV thriller series, which ultimately became a series of movies, called “Mission Impossible”. The secret agent, or hero of the story if you wish to call him that, would be directed to a phone booth or some other improbable location to find a tape recording of a proposed “mission”. And then the tape recording would self-destruct after the agent listened to it.
I remember one short phrase from each recording, “Your mission, should you choose to accept it…” Needless to say, this secret agent would accept the impossible mission; and, in some superb but rather improbable Hollywood fashion, he would accomplish his objective.
When Jesus gave His instructions to His disciples to become missionaries, carrying His Truth out into the world, I am sure some of them must have felt that this mission was very daunting at first, very overwhelming, maybe even a “mission impossible” of sorts.
Nevertheless, with faith, they went forth as “lambs among wolves” – and the fruits of their accomplishments, all with the help of God’s grace, we enjoy today.
The commissioning and the warning our Lord gave in today’s Gospel, of course, reflected the persecutions His disciples would one day face, but they also pertain to each of us today when we reflect upon the direction in which our society and the different governments of the world are headed – a direction in which the moral codes which once guided society for millennia, social morés given to us by God Himself, are now being replaced with a new truth based upon moral, ethical and theological relativism – a false truth placed in the hearts of man by Satan himself!
And for many in the world, persecutions also exist as the result of a perverted ideology forcibly disseminated by fundamentalists who persecute all who disagree with their sociopolitical and religious beliefs!
Those who continue to support and teach God’s Truth are being more frequently ridiculed and harassed, some even physically attacked; and, in some countries, we see those who stand up for God’s Truth and moral righteousness receiving imprisonment; and others, just for the sake of being Christian, receive the martyr’s crown.
Yet, despite all this, each one of us, by virtue of our Baptism, is called by Christ to become a member of the royal priesthood of Jesus Christ. We are called to be “priests, prophets and kings”. In other words, we are called to be imitators of Christ in everything that we think, in everything we say and do.
It is by the life that we live and it is by the example that we set which shows others the pathway to God’s Kingdom. And yet, there are many Christians who find it uncomfortable to be a holy example for others, for there are many who are afraid of ridicule. There are many who shy away from the laughter, mockery or persecution which may come their way from those who have chosen to live a life of darkness.
Proclaiming God’s Word and being a listener to His Truth requires that we must first place upon ourselves a cloak of humility, whereby we stand before God with an open heart and an open mind, humbling ourselves before the awesomeness of His Majesty and Divinity.
And we see this humbleness in the heart of Job in our First Reading today. In spite of all the trials and tribulations, in spite of the suffering which filled his heart, he humbled himself before God and men and declared –
“But as for me, I know that my Vindicator lives, and that he will at last stand forth upon the dust…” – for Job felt that he was no better than dust in the overwhelming Presence of God.
God has given to each one of us, to both you and me, this most wondrous gift of life which we enjoy! And by virtue of the fact that we are reflecting upon this meditation today, we have freely said “yes” to the gift of faith which He has also freely given, and to which we have responded.
How we live our faith and how we place into practice the virtues which we have been taught is how we respond to God’s Love which He holds for each of us, a Love which is beyond all human measure of understanding – a Love which fills us, and a Love which guides, strengthens and supports us as we travel together through this vale of tears – a vale in which we all live and experience the wonderful highs and the tremendous lows of life.
And in this journey, this pilgrimage which we are making, we are each called to be prophets. In other words, we are each chosen to live a life which gives glory to our Heavenly Father. In this journey, we are called to be disciples of God’s Truth, just as our Lord asked of the seventy-two He sent out in today’s Gospel.
We are each asked to become the extension of Christ in our lives as we reach out to those around us with the gifts which God has blessed us. In our daily mission of life, to which we have been called, we are asked to reach out and prophesy – to live God’s Truth, if not by words, then at least by example as a witness to God’s Love from which others may benefit and learn.
For us to truly live our faith in an environment which is oftentimes hostile to Christian virtue, we must first empty from ourselves our pride, ego and feelings of self-importance, and take upon ourselves a meekness about which Christ Himself spoke, “…learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.”
When we look at our own lives, and the faith which we live in our hearts, do we respond with unquestioning trust? Do we find ourselves trusting in the kindness of a God who has given us both the gift of life and this gift of faith?
Do we find ourselves giving witness to our faith by the way we walk through this life, and by the way we reach out to others, as our Lord instructed His disciples in today’s Gospel? For Jesus Himself said to His Apostles at the Last Supper, “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Let us pray that Jesus may help each of us to patiently and faithfully accept the hardships, adversities and persecutions which may come our way in serving His Divine will, especially in these days which we live today.
God asks each of us that we not let our hearts be troubled by the circumstances which surround us; but rather we are called to surrender ourselves to His Divine Providence, and allow His Love and His Grace to work through each and every one of us.
May the Presence of His Spirit strengthen our faith and give us courage, so that we may not shrink away from doing what is asked of us, from doing what is right, trusting in the words He once spoke to His disciples, “You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.”
May the compassionate Mercy and Love of Almighty God strengthen us to continually and faithfully embrace His Truth in the midst of the deceptions, lies and persecutions which surround us constantly.
And with the help of His grace, always trusting in His Divine Presence within us, may what first appears to be an impossible task – truly become for each of us a mission possible! †
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
- “[Jesus said to the seventy-two,] ‘The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.’” (Luke 10:2-3)
- “You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 10:22)
- “But as for me, I know that my vindicator lives, and that he will at last stand forth upon the dust.” (Job 19:25)
- “…If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
- “Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
- “Who is wise enough to understand these things? Who is intelligent enough to know them? Straight are the paths of the LORD, the just walk in them…” (Hosea 14:10abcd)
- “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.” (Matthew 5:11-12a)
- “…love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6:27b-28)
- “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)
- “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.” (1 Peter 2:21)
- “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)
- “…learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” (Matthew 11:29a)
Prayer for the Day
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 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;Psalm 23 (Psalm of the Good Shepherd)
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”