Tuesday, October 18, 2016

May It Not Be Held Against Them!

St. Paul Writing by
Rembrandt [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons.

By Melanie Rigney

At my first defense, no one appeared on my behalf, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them! But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it.  (2 Timothy 4:16-17)

Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom. (Psalm 145:12)

“Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.’” (Luke 10:8-9)

Lord, bless all the humans in my life who make all-too-human mistakes… and who forgive me for all the ones I make.

I think of Paul as a whirlwind or tornado, storming through towns, attempting to set people on fire with the Good News, not always being as tactful or diplomatic as he could have been because that wasn’t his nature and besides: There. Just. Wasn’t. Time. There just wasn’t. There was always another town on the horizon, more evangelization to be done, more people to be met, more strategies to be planned.

And then, as he tells Timothy in today’s first reading, he was alone at his first defense. The winds of his life stilled to nothingness. All those souls he had brought to the Kingdom were nowhere to be found. Surely, in the moment, he had to have been hurt, puzzled, angry. But in retrospect, as he writes, the Lord was there and He was sufficient. Indeed, Paul even asks forgiveness for those who deserted him.

We all are deserted often, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. Yes, there are people in this world who want to set us up only to see us publicly humiliated or embarrassed. There are people in this world who run away from the first sign of conflict, fearful of what might happen if they’re not on the winning side. But mostly, I think, people desert us unintentionally. They have their own stuff going on, and as for our stuff: There. Just. Wasn’t. Time. Just as sometimes for the stuff they really needed us to do: There. Just. Wasn’t. Time. As they forgive us, let us forgive them. As He forgives us, let us forgive them—and ourselves.

Show compassion today to someone you both know has let you down.

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