November 13, 2016 – Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

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It will lead to giving your testimony.

Imagine that you are new to a community. Just moved-in. You were raised Catholic, but haven’t been to church in years. You decide that now is a good time for a fresh start. You decide to go to Mass this weekend at the local Catholic Church. Figured you would check it out. Sunday morning rolls around and you head to Mass. As you enter the building you are greeted warmly by hospitality ministers. You pass thru a very active and vibrant parish hall teaming with conversation and life over coffee and donuts. You enter the sanctuary and hear the beautiful sounds of pre-liturgy music. You find just the right seat (near the back) for a person who hasn’t attended Mass for more than a decade. The service begins, the priest is very welcoming in his opening remarks, and you settle-in for the readings.

The gospel reading is proclaimed and you hear:

“All that you see here – the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone…”

“See that you will not be deceived, for many will come in my name…”

“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.”

“There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues…”

“Before all this happens, however, they will seize and persecute you…”

It will lead to giving your testimony.

“You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death.”

“You will be hated by all because of my name.”

You squirm a bit in your seat. How would you feel? What would you think?

What about us – those who have been attending Mass faithfully since the day our parents had us baptized? How do you feel about Christ’s words in Luke’s gospel? What does this stir in you? Do you recognize these events and experiences in the world? In your personal life? Is being Catholic challenging? Have you been challenged in your Catholic faith? Have you had experiences that have “lead to giving your testimony?”

It’s not easy being a Christian. Jesus never said it would be. We live in a broken world filled with broken people and broken relationships. But there is hope. He is our hope. We are his hope. And as it says in 1 Peter 3:15, we should “always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks us for a reason for our hope.” It’s not about us. It’s about him. It’s not about me. It’s about him. It’s about how he wants to live in and through me. It’s about how he wants to live in and through us.

Sometimes, life will be pleasant. Sometimes, faith will feel good. Welcoming people. Fresh coffee and donuts. Soothing music.

Other times, life will be stressful, overwhelming, and filled with anxiety and despair. We may even wonder, “Where is God?” But we are people of hope. Hope is not human emotion. It is supernatural assurance. It comes from the one who truly sees the big picture. It comes from the one who will be victorious.

It comes from the one who has asked us to always be ready to give our testimony.

What a privilege.

Any Given Sunday Project ©