The readings today are clearly about trust and our actions, as we trust in the Lord in every aspect of our lives. The readings from the Old Testament, both Sirach and the responsorial psalm, are quite clear-cut. The gospel, however, is more difficult to understand and to live fully.
The first reading is very beautiful as we are asked to stand in justice and fear and prepare for trials. However, we are assured that we are not alone in these trials. We can all think of numerous times in our lives where we have been tested. One thought that I always cling to is that whatever the “test” I am not alone. I always have that “lifeline” – I can call a “friend” anytime – I just have to hit my knees and pray!! When you think about it, it is as though we have this tremendous advantage as we enter everything we do. I remember as a freshman in college (a few decades ago!!), I had printed on various index cards words from Norman Vincent Peale. So, around my study area in my dorm room hung things like, “I can do all things through God who strengthens me” and “If God be for us, who can be against us.” I assure you, I didn’t expect that I did not have to study as well – but I knew I was fortified in all I did.
A couple of years ago, I shared an “aha moment” I had when thinking about the word trust. I think it is worth repeating. As I studied the word, I realized that as we write it, it begins and ends with the cross and “u” is in the middle (TrusT). I propose that that is no accident – we are, indeed, surrounded by the cross always – saving us – if we allow it. If we give ours hearts and souls – allow our lives to follow – we can always take comfort in the salvation of the cross and the security of our lifeline. No one says it is going to be easy, only that we will not be facing it alone. It was less than a month after my realization about the word trust, that I was challenged to put it into action as I faced a diagnosis of cancer. Once I put my faith into action and truly lived what I had written, I was surrounded by symbols of comfort and hope – songs sung at church, words of the readings, and prayers from friends and strangers, both near and far. I will never forget that faith journey and will always be grateful that I experienced it. I certainly am no more or less worthy of God’s love and comfort than anyone else – it is there for all of us, we just need to allow it into our lives.
As I read the gospel, I imagined how difficult it must have been for the disciples to understand what Jesus was telling them. It is easy for us, we know how the story ends. I wondered how I would have reacted. Would I have understood that this man is truly God? I often wonder if Mary had a clue about how this would all end. Whatever we believe, it is evident that we are here to serve the Lord, not ourselves. That does not mean, we can not have nice things or take care of ourselves, but it does mean we serve God first and foremost in all we do, say, and think. A continuing challenge for this very grateful yet struggling child of God. . .
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