THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for January 30th, 2014
Liturgical texts here
SOMETIMES I look down the narrow, darkening road of the future, and I find myself crying out, “Jesus! Give me the courage to go down this path.” In times like these, I am tempted to tone down my message, taper my zeal, and measure my words. But then I catch myself and say, “Mark, Mark… What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?“
Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. (Luke 9:25-26)
You see, this is Satan’s trick: fear. He puts all kinds of images of torture, phantoms of pain, and villains of persecution into the mind… and if one pays attention to these, well, he is like Peter trying to walk on water: as soon as he takes his eyes off of Jesus, he starts to sink.
So we have to put our eyes again upon our Lord and remember a few things.
One is that the world is thirsting for the Word of God. Aren’t you thirsting to know that you are loved, forgiven, and saved? Then so are others, especially those who have not heard the clear proclamation of the Gospel.
True, some mistake their thirst for the excessive need for personal freedom—to break away from any form of religion—and so they react in anger to the Gospel. But this only increases their thirst. Even though the Centurion crucified Jesus, it was precisely Christ’s faithfulness in loving him that led the Centurion, in the end, to satiate his spiritual thirst from the side of Christ.
So do not let the angry face of persecutors fool you! Whether they know it or not, they are waiting for you to bring them good news by the light of your life.
How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news. (Rom 10:15)
The second thing to remember is that it is not up to “me”. What power do I have to convert another’s heart? Indeed, the Christian must know that…
…the proclamation of Jesus Christ is not easy, but that it does not depend on him. He must do everything possible, but the proclamation of Jesus Christ, the proclamation of the truth, depends on the Holy Spirit. —POPE FRANCIS, Homily, May 8th, 2013, Magnificat, January 2014, p. 424
I have neither silver nor gold, said Peter. That is, I don’t have anything of my own, any power or clever words to change, heal, or convert another other than the power of Jesus:
…what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, [rise and] walk. (Acts 3:6)
Jesus has empowered the Church through the Holy Spirit. But without faith in Him, I can do nothing. cf. John 15:5 I have to trust that the Lord will always supply everything I need, when I need it, right on time. He asks me, in turn, to walk by faith, not by sight; 2 Cor 5:7 to resist the temptation to keep my mouth shut, to not “ruffle feathers”, and hide the truth beneath “a bushel basket or under a bed.” For as He promises in the Gospel:
The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you. To the one who has, more will be given.
You can hear Jesus prodding us along in these words! He is promising to supply our needs if we’re willing to supply others, to reach beyond ourselves, and be a powerful light to others in this present darkness. In the parable of the talents, the ones who invested them received the payback only after they took the step in faith.
There is an urgent need, then, to see once again that faith is a light, for once the flame of faith dies out, all other lights begin to dim. —POPE FRANCIS, Encyclical, Lumen Fidei, n. 4
We have to become like David in today’s Psalm who said, “I will give my eyes no sleep, my eyelids no rest, till I find a home for the Lord.” Christ and the Father are searching to find a home in the hearts of souls.
But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? (Rom 10:14)
So my dear brothers and sisters, do not let the “signs of the times” intimidate you as you walk down the darkened pathways of this world. Jesus Christ is with you. He will never leave you. Instead, let Him shine through your faith in Him, and rebuke the demons of fear that would prefer you hide beneath a bushel basket.
Christians who are afraid to build bridges and prefer to build walls are Christians who are not sure of their faith, not sure of Jesus Christ. When the church loses this apostolic courage, it becomes a stalled church, a tidy church, nice, very nice, but without fertility, because it has lost the courage to go to the peripheries, where there are so many victims of idolatry, of worldliness, of weak thinking. —POPE FRANCIS, Homily, May 8th, 2103; Vatican City; Catholic News Service
Jesus is with us! Do not be afraid, then, to boldly enter the hearts of others with the Gospel, and find another home for the Lord.
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|1.||↑||cf. John 15:5|
|2.||↑||2 Cor 5:7|