Good News Reflections:
Making scripture meaningful to your daily life
by Terry Modica
DISCOVER TODAY: Being a Christian sometimes means being misunderstood, disbelieved, and persecuted.
Good News Reflection for:
Monday of the 33rd Week of Ordinary Time
November 14, 2022
Beloved Lord, give me the faith I need to proclaim the greatness of Your love every day, everywhere. Amen.
Today’s Saint Quote & Prayer:
Revelation 1:1-4; 2:1-5
Ps 1:1-4, 6 (with Rev. 2:17)
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
Daring to be zealous again
Sometimes, I dare to write what some readers don’t want to reflect upon, and they scold me. And there are times when I dare to point out anti-evangelization behaviors (which grieve Jesus greatly) that some priests and other leaders in our Church don’t realize they are doing. But if they don’t want to face an uncomfortable truth about themselves, they dismiss me as inferior.
One time I saw a priest post in his blog something that sounded very condemning and judgmental. It would have been a sin for me to see this and keep silent about it, so I posted a comment that compassionately brought to light a bigger picture. And what happened? He judged me as “not a real Catholic”.
However, my ministry is not about limiting myself to only messages that will win compliments from everyone.
I certainly would prefer to write only what’s “safe”, tickling everyone’s spiritual ears so that I can receive plenty of accolades. Indeed I have given in to that temptation, but today’s first reading has challenged me down through the years, reminding me that being a Christian sometimes means being misunderstood, disbelieved, and persecuted.
And he’s saying the same to you.
Listen to Jesus, “the one who holds the seven stars” (i.e., all the holy angels) and “walks among the seven golden lampstands” (i.e., the whole Church, all of us). He’s affirming you in these verses: “I know your deeds … your patience and endurance … that you don’t tolerate wickedness … that you are enduring hardships for me ….”
Now listen to what disappoints him: “You have lost the love you had at first.” Ouch.
Remember how boldly excited you used to get about the Faith? You were like the blind man who was healed in today’s Gospel reading, enthusiastically giving glory to God. But after raising a few eyebrows of disapproval on the faces around you, did you begin to restrain your zeal? I know I have. Ouch again.
There is nothing I write that I have not already faced personally. This is the reason for my zeal. The good news is: When we have wrestled with the truth and then allowed God to be the winner, the transformation that happens in us gives us zeal for sharing our discoveries, even when others disagree with us.
When we lose that confidence, we need to run back to God and let him comfort us. We need to give him the opportunity to build us up again so that we can go out into the world with renewed energy. Our zeal for running to God for comfort becomes zeal for sharing the truth despite persecution and rejection.
Well-lived Christianity is an adventure, because it’s a very daring road that we travel. To succeed, we must first pay attention to the wrestling matches we’ve been fighting and admit that God should be allowed to win.
Here’s an example of how that happens: What teachings of the Church do you disagree with? Dare to assume that there’s something about it that you don’t understand, then dare to ask the Holy Spirit to explain the truth to you. Dare to look deeper: How is this unlikeable teaching really based on love? How can it increase your holiness? God will enlighten you, perhaps immediately but more likely over time as he leads you on a journey of discovery.
God calls us to accountability. First, we must take the time and make the effort to learn what the Church really teaches and why. Then, we must dare to publicly stand firm in it.
Congratulate yourself for all the dares you’ve already taken with the Lord. This is what God’s Word for us today means: Hold fast to your “early love” and do the works that are energized by that zeal.
Read more about this topic using GNM’s WordByte “Is the Catechism of the Catholic Church Dependable for Teaching Truth?” @ wordbytes.org/faqs/catechism/.
© 2022 by Terry A. Modica
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