Feast of Sts. Philip and James, Apostles
In the first reading today, St. Paul quotes one of my favorite verses and something that I have been pondering within my own heart, “[After Jesus had been raised from the dead and visited all the disciples] Last of all, as to one born abnormally, he appeared to me.”
What St. Paul is saying here is that he persecuted the Christians, even to the point of death; we see it in the Acts of the Apostles when he consented to the death of St. Stephen, but Jesus chose him to be a vessel to carry His message to all over the world and to tell the Good News of our salvation. I am reminded of a penance that I was given after going to confession and it was the call of the Prophet Jeremiah, “‘Ah, Lord GOD!’ Jeremiah said, ‘I do not know how to speak. I am too young!’ But the LORD answered me, ‘Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you.’”
After reading this, the Lord said to me in my heart, “I am with you to deliver you, stop getting down on yourself, focus only on me, I will show you how to speak.” As I’ve mentioned before, I have ADHD, and I get really nervous about speaking in public. I am afraid to say the wrong thing. This is when I think about St. Paul’s quote stated above, “Lord I am abnormal, send someone who is better qualified.” But like the apostles, especially Sts. Philip and James, we have nothing to worry about. It won’t be our words to spread salvation but the Holy Spirit’s words! If you think you are a broken vessel or if you think you are “abnormal” like myself at times, always remember that Jesus chooses the lowly to shame the wise. A perfect example is St. Bernadette, who thought she was stupid but could carry the message of Our Lady to wherever Our Lady sent her.
Reflection by Br. Maximilian Burkhart, OSB