Gospel of Life
This icon depicts Jesus consoling a beloved disciple when he experienced the unexpected frustration and sacrifice required of those who would follow in the footsteps of Christ. Living the Christian life has never been an easy task, and today is no exception! In a world wrought with selfishness and sin, there is opposition all around. Indeed, living discipleship through stewardship - giving of ourselves for one another, living completely for the sake of the Gospel - is counter-cultural. In fact, many of us have probably already encountered mockery and judgment, even from those closest to us. That can be very discouraging. But the readings today remind us that we are not alone. Even Jesus Himself dealt with such opposition.
Jesus tells us, "A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house. " We know that when we live for Christ, the reward is much greater than the suffering we encounter. We were not made for this world. We were made for Christ. So, as we encounter the challenges that may come from proclaiming the truth, let us take heart in the knowledge that Christ knows what we're going through. He experienced it too. And when we live for Christ completely, and help others encounter Him, we will experience a grace and utter fulfillment that surpasses anything the world has to offer.
In the second reading today, even Paul admits that he has suffered greatly, both from physical maladies as well as from being a disciples of Christ. Paul says:
"Three times I begged the Lord about this,
that it might leave me, but he said to me,
'My grace is sufficient for you,
for power is perfected in weakness. '"
(2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
This is a quite a sobering thought for each of us as, at the same time, we want to be faithful stewards but consistently wonder why we face so many obstacles and hardships along the way. On several occasions Paul and all the disciples questioned these same things, yet realized that they could only find their happiness, fulfillment and peace of mind in life by placing their trust in the God they worship and in the Lord whom they follow. Could we expect any less?