Saturday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
What does it mean to live as people who hope in the Resurrection? The Sadducees deny that there is a resurrection, but it often seems that Christians live without hope in the Resurrection.
There is a false notion we must avoid that says: “If we follow God and give our lives to Christ that everything will proceed smoothly and we will be tremendously blessed in this life.” But, as many of us know firsthand, there are no guarantees of happiness or prosperity in this life, but rather our promise is primarily for the world to come. Sometimes I wonder why we, who have our mind fixed on the gift of eternal life, allow ourselves to become so upset and frustrated when in the circumstances of life we encounter difficulty. Why is it that when we come across frustrating situations or maybe someone’s outright disrespect of us, we limit ourselves to accepting these situations grudgingly? Can the God of the Universe not use everything to draw us closer to Himself?
We are not called simply to “endure” difficulties but to “accept” them as coming from the hand of a Loving Father. Refusing to suffer means refusing to live. We are often instructed to avoid suffering at all costs, but when we reject suffering, we are rejecting the reality of life. By accepting the sufferings “offered” by life and those that God gives us for our purification, we prepare ourselves for the gift of heaven.
While we would like to appreciate the successes and comforts of this life—we have to see how the promise of eternal life helps us to accept when the present life disappoints us. When we can embrace difficulties patiently, peacefully, and even joyfully, we give the world a great gift—by our life, we witness to them the power of hope—what it means to hope in Jesus Christ our Risen Savior.
Reflection Question: With whom is God urging me to witness the hope of His love and mercy?
Reflection by Fr. Paul Sheller, OSB