Paul has been beaten nearly to death by the members of his own religious tradition. He continues on, driven by a fire inside that has not been extinguished. Paul talks about a world of hardship. Paul goes on to establish the Church among the Gentiles.
In the Gospel, Jesus portrays the world with negative connotations. He leaves us with a picture of the impending evil around us. He will be crucified as a criminal (betrayed and denied by those closest to him), but He will return. He continues on His Father’s mission.
Today’s psalm was originally written as a Hebrew acrostic message. I find it hard to fully appreciate such a message in translation. Still, a communication of Divine Transcendence finds its way through.
Rather than having many superficial friends, I am a person with a few good friends. These have been relationships that have been cultivated over years. Last week I discovered that I had been deceived by a trusted friend. This has truly stolen much of my initiative and left me feeling very down. Although I had learned to expect instances of hardships and misleading actions, it is far easier to recover from these acts when they do not come from someone where there was trust and a history.
The experience left me with a much better understanding of the internal pain that Paul and Jesus endured. The hurt is much greater when it comes from people with whom you shared a past. We see no examples of depression or any impediments to action from such hurt in today’s readings. We are reminded of the Christian call to faith and perseverance.
My prayer today is for a new focus on God’s Kingdom. I pray for the ability to keep in mind what my true mission is really about. I pray for the willingness to endure the path on which this mission calls me. I pray for the strength to be proactive in times of challenge and hardship.
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