A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC
July 29, 2016
NOTES FROM DEACON PAREJA
November 16, 2019
Bearing Our Share of Hardship for the Gospel
September 30, 2016
The events of this past weekend at Crossroads Center brought home, too close to home, the violence and hatred that exists in our world; the inability of people to accept and love one another as Christ. There is no doubt that we find ourselves in a world that is less safe for all people. Those who have been uprooted by violence, war, famine and genocide seek a safe place to live and raise their families. All nations of the world, all people of the world, are called to stand in solidarity against these atrocities and do their share to assist those who are suffering. Jesus calls all of us as his disciples to love; to love even our enemy. Therein, lays the challenge. We listen to the Word of God and we make efforts to live that Word daily and yet we struggle to find answers as to how many people we can help, how many people our country can house and care for. To be sure there is no one who wants to open our doors to those who want to harm us, on that we can all agree. So what does God call us to in these difficult times? Our world has evolved into one in which people are mobile in ways that were not possible even twenty years ago. And as for information about what is happening in the world, we get that now in nano seconds. People have been destroying people from the beginning of creation. In the very first book of the Bible, one brother kills the other. Violence and killing is not new to the human race, however, one would hope that we might have learned a bit more along the way about how we can live in peace and in love with and for one another.
In St. Paul’s letter to Timothy, our Second Reading this Sunday, I find some concrete advice that may assist us today. St. Paul writes from his prison cell, “Stir into flame the gift of God you have through the imposition of my hands.” He is speaking of the Holy Spirit gifted in baptism. He continues, “For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.” The concrete advice: depend upon the Holy Spirit within you and stand firm in your love for God and your brothers and sisters in this world. Then, depend upon God to assist you in being strong in your determination to do what is right. Bear your share of hardship for the gospel and call upon the power of the Holy Spirit within you to make right decisions, to assist you in controlling yourself; your feelings, your speech and your actions. We are a People of God, gifted with the Holy Spirit, strengthened by the love of Christ. Let us proudly proclaim and live God’s Word, remaining strong in our faith in Jesus Christ and his message of love. God will see us through these difficult times. Let us not discount the power of His love!