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Because Jesus lives in us, we can have the same servant's heart toward those who betray us or frustrate us.

A Reflection for:

Thursday of the 4th Week of Easter
April 26, 2018

Today's Saint Quote: Saint John Eudes

Mercy and justice resemble two sisters inseparable and holding each other by the hand....

Today's Prayer:

Lord: help me to reflect Your Name in all my works, serving others humbly and with mercy. Amen.

Today's Readings:

Acts 13:13-25
Ps 89:2-3, 21-22, 25, 27
John 13:16-20
www.usccb.org/bible/readings/042618.cfm
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
ccc.usccb.org/cccradio/NABPodcasts/18_04_26.mp3

360VR Meditate on this reflection in our Virtual Reality world "Hidden Water Way" (no special equipment needed).

Blessed are the servants in frustrating situations

Think of people who frustrate you. Who has raised their heel against you? What is so frustrating about them? Do you know how to be a servant like Jesus in these situations?

Jesus says in today's Gospel reading that we can never be greater than he is. He is our Master; we understand this. What we don't understand is how we'll be blessed by serving the same ways that he served. He served Judas even when he knew how Judas would betray him.

Because Jesus lives in us, we can have the same servant's heart toward those who betray us or frustrate us with their on-going sins. Like Jesus, we can love them and do good for them without cooperating in their sins.

We betray Jesus when we give anger to others instead of God's love. We raise our heels against him when we refuse to imitate his self-sacrificing servanthood. Jesus showed, by his example that going to the cross for others is a good thing! Okay, but how can it be good for us when we're nailed by someone's unloving behavior, or when we're crucified unjustly by false accusations? How are we to overcome feeling frustrated and hurt?

Jesus answered that in John 12:26: "Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me." There is no greater blessing than to be honored by God!

The alternative is to hang onto our hurts and act upon our feelings of frustration. But then we remain cursed by our woundedness. Healing only begins when we forgive others, whether they ask for it or not.

It's frustrating to insist that others treat us the way they should, because when they don't, our focus is on what's hurting us rather than on Jesus. We'll never find happiness this way. True happiness in troubling times comes from uniting ourselves to Christ. Our flesh-nature says, "I don't want to do this! Let this cup pass from me!" Our spirit-nature, connected to the Holy Spirit of Jesus, says: "If they can't or won't give me love, I will let them crucify my desire to receive love from them and I will rely on God to raise my life to new heights of joy."

St. Ignatius of Antioch explained it beautifully: "I am the wheat of Christ, ground by the teeth of beasts to become pure bread." By letting others grind up what we want from them, we become Eucharist for them (the Bread of Christ). We become a sign of the true Christ. What a tremendous gift we can give! If we only want to receive the gift, for example during the Eucharistic Liturgy of Mass, then we are selfishly sinning.

Being Eucharist does not mean keeping ourselves in harm's way. We follow Jesus to the cross and the resurrection. Even if the other people don't change, we do. Their choices and behaviors no longer control our feelings. In this, we are greatly blessed!

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© 2018 by Terry A. Modica
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