Summary: "If we think that things are not going to change, we need to recall that Jesus Christ has triumphed over sin and death and is now almighty."

Thursday of 15th Week in Course 2017

Joy of the Gospel

It’s extremely important for us to understand that the God who, in the person of Jesus, said “come to me–my yoke is easy and my burden is light” is the same God who called Moses and the people of Israel and smote the Egyptians. God had made a promise to Abraham and his descendants to give them the land of Palestine and to make them into a holy people who would attract all nations to right living and right worship. But the Egyptian culture was toxic–certainly to a holy people because of their idolatry and injustice. It was toxic for Israel and toxic for Egypt. And that same kind of thing is happening in the West today, and it’s still toxic for us. The yoke of Egypt had less to do with making bricks and building pyramids than it did with making people evil. The yoke of Jesus Christ is light because it is liberating–it frees us to do good works and avoid evil deeds. The other word for Christ’s yoke is grace. Jesus looks into human hearts and sees people worth liberating, just like the Father did with the Israelites three thousand years earlier. Just like He wants to do with Americans and Canadians and Mexicans and Irishmen and everyone else today.

The Holy Father’s pastoral concerns come out in the encyclical: ‘If we are to share our lives with others and generously give of ourselves, we also have to realize that every person is worthy of our giving. Not for their physical appearance, their abilities, their language, their way of thinking, or for any satisfaction that we might receive, but rather because they are God’s handiwork, his creation. God created that person in his image, and he or she reflects something of God’s glory. Every human being is the object of God’s infinite tenderness, and he himself is present in their lives. Jesus offered his precious blood on the cross for that person. Appearances notwithstanding, every person is immensely holy and deserves our love. Consequently, if I can help at least one person to have a better life, that already justifies the offering of my life. It is a wonderful thing to be God’s faithful people. We achieve fulfillment when we break down walls and our heart is filled with faces and names!

‘In the second chapter, we reflected on that lack of deep spirituality which turns into pessimism, fatalism, and mistrust. Some people do not commit themselves to mission because they think that nothing will change and that it is useless to make the effort. They think: “Why should I deny myself my comforts and pleasures if I won’t see any significant result?” This attitude makes it impossible to be a missionary. It is only a malicious excuse for remaining caught up in comfort, laziness, vague dissatisfaction and empty selfishness. It is a self-destructive attitude, for “man cannot live without hope: life would become meaningless and unbearable”.If we think that things are not going to change, we need to recall that Jesus Christ has triumphed over sin and death and is now almighty. Jesus Christ truly lives. Put another way, “ if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain” (1 Cor 15:14). The Gospel tells us that when the first disciples went forth to preach, “the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message” (Mk 16:20). The same thing happens today. We are invited to discover this, to experience it. Christ, risen and glorified, is the wellspring of our hope, and he will not deprive us of the help we need to carry out the mission which he has entrusted to us.’

I belong to the generation that wanted to change the world. I fear that as a whole, our generation has made the world more selfish, less giving and more dangerous for spiritual growth. We are an impatient generation. We want instantaneous results. But remember that “rapid growth is the philosophy of the cancer cell.” God works slowly in most human hearts. Thus St. Theresa of Calcutta taught us that we are not called to be successful. We are called to be faithful.

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