From the Deacon’s Desk: Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts
August 7 – Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Stay awake and be ready! For you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” Our gospel acclamation captures the warning of the message in our readings this week. If the past couple years has taught us nothing else, it is that life can change in an instant. We have watched the tragedies of nature – floods, tornados and wildfires – take everything people have. Mass shootings have reminded us that life itself can be snuffed out in an instant. COVID has taught us to take nothing for granted. Often it is difficult for us to make sense of the suffering and loss.
But suffering and sacrifice are part and parcel of our faith. They are the cross, and we are connected to it. We should embrace it! We embrace it by owning our faith, by trusting in God and by turning our lives over to Him. It is faith that allows us to endure all that we must for God. The faith of Abraham that St. Paul describes in our second reading. A faith that believes in the hope and promise of God even when that promise is not visible to us. It is a faith born out of love and trust, girded by humility and acceptance of God’s plan, and fueled by passion and hope for the future. Faith gives us hope when all else seems to have failed.
“Do not be afraid,” Jesus tells us. “For the Father is pleased to give us the Kingdom!” God will never leave us alone, but are we willing to trust in Him? Where do we place our trust? Is it in our possessions – or is it by living under the loving gaze of God? Trust in riches gets in the way of trust in God. Jesus is always there with us – even in places where we don’t expect him. You see, Jesus is the one who has fought and already won the battle over evil for us. We only need to choose to follow him, to bring him squarely to the center of our lives. We need to hear the words of St. Paul, “faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” We have found hope and joy in that which we cannot see. Our faith is fulfilled and fueled by Jesus Christ in the Eucharist – body and blood, soul and divinity!
As Vincentian’s, each day we are called to grow in holiness, and as such to grow in faith. We are carriers of that faith to all we encounter, including one another, and those to whom we minister. Our actions and words become the evidence of God’s presence among us. More than anything, it is faith, hope and trust which we share with others through the love of Christ. How do I help others to find hope even in the darkest of times? How do my actions convey a trust in God’s plan for each of us? Does my humility convey a willingness to accept all that we are asked to endure?
Lord Jesus, help me to accept suffering as Christ accepted the suffering and pain of my sins. Give me the humility to accept your will, your plan for me and those around me even when I don’t understand, even when it hurts. Give me the trust and conviction of Abraham. Help me to grow in my faith and holiness particularly when times seem dark. Allow me to see the light of hope to carry me forward. We pray all of this in your name. Amen