Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Good News Reflection
Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter
May 26, 2009

Today's Memorial: Saint Philip Neri

Pray for a spirit of joy and laughter

Today's Readings:

Acts 20:17-27
Ps 68:10-11, 20-21 (with 33a)
John 17:1-11a

Finishing the work despite hardships

If we could foresee the hardships that lay ahead of us on our paths of service in the kingdom of God, we'd come up with good excuses not to do it. (Hey, we do that already, just by imagining possible hardships! No wonder there are so many of us who do so little ministry or volunteer services or fighting against injustices.)

As we see in today's first reading, St. Paul knew that going to Jerusalem would mean "chains and hardships", so why did he go? Wouldn't he be just as useful to the Lord if he stayed where he was accepted and appreciated?

Back in 1996, as I was praising God for the Good News Evangelization School that we were holding in my parish, I felt God ask me, "Are you willing to suffer to become a better minister for my kingdom?" I wrestled with him over that until he reminded me: "I'm safe. Trust me." And thus began a series of chains and hardships that have not yet ended. And today, I am very grateful for them all!

St. Paul trusted God, even while he knew that he was not safe from those who would imprison him and eventually kill him for preaching the truth. What makes a person willing to say yes to God's calling when it's a certainty that it won't always be easy and fun, when being safe in God does not mean being safe from persecution and hardships?

Paul answered this question. He said, "I put no value on my life. I only value finishing the service that the Lord Jesus has assigned to me." Jesus also answered it in today's Gospel passage: "I have given you glory, Father, by accomplishing the work you gave me to do."

Which matters more: your life (your comfort, your security, your freedom from problems) or God's work, which he gave you to accomplish and which no one else can do the way you can do it? — work that you were specifically designed to do, work that will fulfill you more than anything other activities.

We all have our assignments. You are in the middle of a very important one right now. Recognize the worth of what you're doing; notice how it glorifies God, how it makes a difference for his kingdom. If you don't see the difference yet, well, notice the difference it's made in you as it's helped to shape you more into the image of Christ. Realize the value of your hardships: how they're increasing your holiness, your compassion, and your ability to help others.

My sufferings, as distressing as they have been sometimes, have greatly enhanced the ministries I do now. They account for many of the insights that I share with you in these daily Good News Reflections. Don't focus on the hardships; keep your eyes on the goal — the finish line, heaven — and on the Lord for whom you're doing this. If we quit, we forfeit our souls to the world, where we are not safe at all. Only in God are we truly safe. He kisses our nail wounds and raises us above the trials into his warm embrace and cozy lap, where we are always safely loved.

© 2009 by Terry A. Modica; All Rights Reserved.

To share this with others, see our
copyright permission page.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please let me know how these thoughts strike you.

Renew the Face of the Earth

Lord Send out Your Spirit In commemoration of the completion of the Year of St. Paul! Check out http://gnm.org/meditations/HolySpirit.htm for higher resolution versions!