Saturday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
At the conclusion of every Mass we are sent, sometimes even with the words, “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.” We are a people on the move, a living Body that desires constantly to grow; we are chosen by God, anointed with His love, to bring good news to all. Jesus promised to equip us for this mission, and assures us that we do not labor alone or unsupported. He tells us not only that the seeds we sow will respond differently according to the hearts we encounter, but that His Word must first grow in our hearts. We are the light of the world, alight with the fire of God’s love; even a small spark can set a forest ablaze.
This mission, this task which Christ has entrusted to us, can be daunting; it is daunting. We are striving to labor with Christ for the salvation of souls, with our own salvation still being worked out at the same time. We may find ourselves completely overwhelmed, helpless, or so discouraged at our failures—actual or perceived—that we are tempted to despair, and giving up altogether seems like our only alternative.
When the storms of discouragement rage around us, when our culture seems unyielding or even hostile to the reason for our hope (1 Peter 3:15), when it seems we are failing left and right and the fruit we desire to lay at our Lord’s feet has not grown, do not be afraid. You might come into a dark time of struggle in your faith and wonder, “Where are you, Jesus?”
Our Gospel today ought to bring us great consolation: Jesus never abandons us. Even should He be asleep, He is yet there; our God is a God that does not slumber (Psalm 121:4) and always guards us. Even when the storm arose at sea and His friends feared disaster, what could befall them if Jesus was there, asleep or otherwise? When God is silent in our lives, when it seems we are abandoned, we must have faith that we are not alone. We are the children of the perfect Father who says, “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.” (Isaiah 49:15) We are members of the Body of Christ; can He forget Himself? We are anointed with the Spirit of God; our Baptism, our Confirmation cannot be undone. God’s silence does not equal His absence; He is there.
Do not fear, then, whatever the world throws at your faith, whatever holds you back from serving the Lord and continuing His mission. His Word never returns to Him without effect (Isaiah 55:11), and that impulse to grow and bear fruit, should we seek to suppress it, will become like a fire in our heart that cannot be ignored. (Jeremiah 20:9) Be not afraid! God is with you; love Him, serve Him as best you are able, and know that all success, all fruit comes about by His grace, even if it seems we have failed. The storms of opposition may blow against you, but the Lord of Heaven and Earth is there with you, and He will not leave. (Matthew 28:19-20)