Finishing the Course

THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for May 30th, 2017
Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Liturgical texts here

 

HERE was a man who hated Jesus Christ… until he encountered Him. Meeting Pure Love will do that to you. St. Paul went from taking the lives of Christians, to suddenly offering his life as one of them. In stark contrast to today’s “martyrs of Allah”, who cowardly hide their faces and strap bombs on themselves to kill innocent folks, St. Paul revealed true martyrdom: to give oneself for the other. He did not hide either himself or the Gospel, in imitation of his Savior. 

I served the Lord with all humility and with the tears and trials… I did not at all shrink from telling you what was for your benefit, or from teaching you in public or in your homes. (Today’s first reading)

In our own time, the price to be paid for fidelity to the Gospel is no longer being hanged, drawn and quartered but it often involves being dismissed out of hand, ridiculed or parodied. And yet, the Church cannot withdraw from the task of proclaiming Christ and his Gospel as saving truth, the source of our ultimate happiness as individuals and as the foundation of a just and humane society. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, London, England, September 18th, 2010; Zenit

How much has changed in just a few years! Now indeed, Christians throughout the Middle East are being tortured and slain as, like St. Paul, they are refusing to deny their Lord. How can we, who shrink at the slightest scoff from our colleagues, friends or family, not be inspired to be more courageous when we read words like these?

…in one city after another the Holy Spirit has been warning me that imprisonment and hardships await me. Yet I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace.

For myself, it is not only these words, but your words that have inspired me. Last month, I appealed to readers to help me in this full-time apostolate that depends upon Divine Providence. While less than two percent of readers responded, those who did, amazed and blessed us at their generosity and encouraging words. There were widows on fixed incomes, the unemployed, students, seniors, and priests who contributed to this ministry, who gave “until it hurt”, as St. Teresa of Calcutta used to say. 

A bountiful rain you showered down, O God, upon your inheritance… (Today’s Psalm)

Moreover, the words of encouragement you sent in emails, cards, and letters touched me immensely, and opened my eyes further to how this is a work far beyond this little singer/songwriter (Ezekiel 33:31-32).

Now they know that everything you gave me is from you, because the words you gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them… (Today’s Gospel)

You also poured out your hearts with the sorrow, pains, divisions, health problems, financial issues, and other strains that you and your families are facing, asking for my prayers. Today, I placed all these prayers into the Tabernacle, so to speak, for Our Lord to answer your cries, according to His will. Yes, I pray every day for you and your intentions, entrusting them to Our Lady in the Rosary, and will continue to do so.

Blessed day by day be the Lord, who bears our burdens; God, who is our salvation. God is a saving God for us… (Today’s Psalm)

It is also in tears today that I entreated the Lord to give me the strength to continue writing, to continue listening, to not fall asleep… to finish the course, as I see the most troubling clouds of this Storm gathering on the horizon. So, thank you, too, for your prayers.

Last, there is a little saying that goes:

If you forget me, you have lost nothing. If you forget Jesus Christ, you have lost everything.

The most important thing I can ever do here is, not to make you aware to the “signs of the times”—which is important—but to bring you to a deeper love and knowledge of the Holy Trinity.

Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. (Today’s Gospel)

This is and always will be my goal. That everything would always lead you to a deeper relationship with Jesus, and through Him, with God the Father through the Holy Spirit. When God lives in your heart—that is Pure and Perfect Love—then all fear will be cast out.[1]1 John 4:18 And then, you will be able to face any storm with grace, light, and hope.

In gratitude for you…

You are loved.

 

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The Christian Martyr-Witness

  
Bless you and thank you.

 

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1. 1 John 4:18
Posted in HOME, MASS READINGS, TIME OF GRACE, ALL.