Today’s Gospel: Luke 9:51-56 – Memorial of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus
Let’s contemplate a scenario for a moment:
You plan a trip and decide to stop in to visit distant relatives along the way. Reacquainting yourself in the driveway, you find yourself attempting to share your faith with these family members. They prove to be obstinate, refusing to hear your “Good News”. They proceed not only to reject your sharing, but also to belittle you, calling your Church a variety of unholy names. They rescind their invitation and send you packing.
Let’s consider two missionary approaches you could take. Choose your most likely response to this scenario. Which would you say?
1. “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?”
2. “Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.”
Response number one, uttered by James and John as Jesus and His fellow travelers were refused admittance to a Samaritan village, probably feels like the one many of us might internally feel when rejected for our faith.
Response number two, a quote from St. Thérèse of Lisieux — the patron saint of missionaries, whose feast we celebrate today — may feel too sticky sweet. Meet obstinance with kindness? Right. Easier said than done!
In our world, living as a person of faith can feel challenging. But just as Jesus rebuked His followers for their emotional response to rejection, you and I must steel ourselves against the bruises we may encounter when living as a missionary disciple is so difficult.
Today, I will work on quietly making small sacrifices and doing tiny rights with great love. These acts may go unnoticed. And this attitude of littleness does not absolve me from needing to overtly share the gospel. Reflecting on today’s gospel reminds me to have the bold courage of the “Sons of Thunder” and the quiet, compassionate zeal of the “Little Flower”.
How do you feel when your efforts to be a missionary are met with rejection? What can you learn from today’s gospel passage about staying the course with love and conviction?
St. Thérèse, you gave your life to the Church and have brought Christ’s love to so many. Intercede for me today that I might live my life inspired your passion for Jesus and walk my path with courage, self-sacrifice and love.
Copyright 2019 Lisa M. Hendey
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