Sunday, August 24, 2014

Endurance and Faith

Monday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Accordingly, we ourselves boast of you in the churches of God regarding your endurance and faith in all your persecutions and the afflictions you endure.  This is evidence of the just judgment of God, so that you may be considered worthy of the Kingdom of God for which you are suffering.  2 Thessalonians 1:4-5

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.  You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men.  You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.  Matthew 23-13

Our pilgrimage to God is a marathon. Hence it’s not about speed but about endurance. It’s as much about taking care of our faith along the way as learning to praise God in the midst of anything and everything. Our marathon will be finished the same way it was started: By taking steps of faith in hope.  (From Practicing Patience, Cultivating Endurance, April 24, 2012 by Mari-Anna StÃ¥lnacke @flowingfaith

Today’s readings are almost mirror images of discourse answering the question, “Where and when is boasting allowed?”  Paul’s letter to the people in Thessalonica clearly explains the answer, “Only when it is about the works of another, not about the works of ourselves.”

Enduring suffering is the key to the kingdom – a kingdom that requires of us to pick up our cross daily.  The Pharisees get Jesus’ condemnation because they live a life that is the opposite of suffering. 

Rather than use their keys to open the gates, they lock the gates of heaven to themselves and to others by their woeful and woe-filled behavior.  These “blind guides” may appear clean on the outside.  However, on the inside they are false prophets.

Vatican City, Aug 24, 2014 / 08:52 am (CNA/EWTN News) - During his Angelus address Sunday Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel account of Saint Peter's recognition of Jesus as the Lord, urging those present to honestly evaluate their own faith.

“Brothers and sisters, what happened in a unique way in Saint Peter, also takes place in every Christian who develops a sincere faith in Jesus the Christ,” he told crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square on Aug. 24.

“Today's Gospel challenges each of us: How is your faith? Let each of us answer in our heart. How is your faith? How is it? What does the Lord find in our hearts: a firm heart, like a rock? Or a heart like sand, that is, doubtful, mistrustful, unbelieving?”

How is your faith?  Is it as big as a mustard seed or as fragile as the faith of a dozen disciples locked in an upper room? 

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