Tuesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
St. Teresa of Avila in her frustration cried out to God, and is supposed to have said: “If this is how You treat Your friends, no wonder why You have so few of them!” Thankfully St. Teresa persevered in her trials, but she realized that being a friend of God does not always mean worldly success. If we are honest with ourselves, most of us have felt this frustration at some point in our lives in following Christ. We think: “I am living a good life, why am I encountering so many difficulties?” It can lead some people to confusion or even a crisis of faith.
“We have given up everything and followed you.” Peter’s statement to Christ has a strong implication attached to it. “We have given up everything…”—‘so what am I going to get in return???’ It’s another questionable mentality Christians fall into—thinking we should and ought to be rewarded for the sacrifices of time and energy we make to follow God. We should be rewarded and blessed far more than non-believers, right?
There are several things lacking with such an attitude. First, we have to consider whether we are worshiping God because it is right and just to give God praise, or because we want to ‘get something’ worldly out of it. Human praise or status might have kept some people steadfast in going to Church, but today being a person of faith in our culture and world brings more ridicule than admiration, and it really tests the extent of our resolve and convictions.
We are invited to explore the reasons why we believe and seek God and, if necessary, purify our intentions of our faith in Jesus Christ. When convenience and tangible benefits seem to fall away, does our faith remain intact? Our reward may not be visible in this life, but God promises us eternal union with Him. We know God to be generous and trustworthy, so we place our hope in a Heavenly Father who stands by His promises.
Reflection Question: How have you given up everything and followed Christ? What else is the Lord asking of you to give?
Reflection by Fr. Paul Sheller, OSB