Psalm 119:23-24, 26-27, 29-30
“What can we do to accomplish the works of God?"
These words from Jesus to his followers and to us today are straightforward. These questions centered on accomplishment are also answered in a surprising way. Perhaps our own questions about accomplishments in life might say: “How do I get done what you want me to do?” Or: “Tell me how I might see results from all my efforts at trying to live this Christian life.” Or maybe even, “I am so frustrated. I keep trying but I don’t seem to get anywhere. Tell me what will work.”
I think if we are honest with ourselves and Jesus we can admit to frustration, fatigue, and maybe a little loss of hope that our efforts of trying to do good for our family, our work, our friendships seem to be have so little effect. Are we really making a difference? Does our love really matter?
To these questions and many others that we almost dare not admit to ourselves, Jesus says, “Believe in me!” I would suggest that He adds, “Don’t rely on your own strength, surrender everything to me and then you will see what will unfold. Come to me. Give me your burden. Trust in my love. Faith in me is all you need.”
Our culture tells us that to lead the good life we should be free from pain. We are also subtly told that our worth and our self-esteem come from the success of our accomplishments. Jesus, resurrected in glory, reveals the insidious lies inherent in these statements. He offers us the truth: if we give Him our daily sufferings—from ordinary daily struggles of work and relationships to profound sufferings in grief and deep pain—and place these sufferings with Him on His cross, then He can transform them. Here the Father can resurrect us with Jesus. However, we need the humility not to try to do it alone. In the middle of the pain that we daily walk with there is Love—not a sappy, sentimental love that dismisses the pain, but the most profound “sweet” love that takes our pains into His own heart to redeem. Once we taste this love, everything looks different.
In the midst of these days of profound suffering and crisis for the Catholic Church, we are challenged by Jesus to give Him the pain. Love urges us in humility to cry out with Him, to admit that which is wrong, to repent where necessary, to forgive from our hearts, and to let the Father raise us up to new life and new hope. Jesus’ words are clear: “Believe in me.” This is not a love that denies or over-spiritualizes but a love that looks honestly at the truth, repents and/or forgives, and permits Jesus to save us.
May we pray for the grace for ourselves and for our Church to have
the humility to admit our pains, anger, sinfulness and fears to Christ.
Then with Thomas the apostle we can cry out to Him, “Yes, Lord I believe
in you; help my unbelief.”
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