Friday, the 4th Week of Lent by Deacon Len

Our readings today remind us that our call to discipleship is not easy and not without suffering.  Although we live in the promise of the Kingdom, that doesn’t mean we live free of distraction, difficulties and even suffering.

In our first reading we see “society” reviling and plotting against “the just one”.  Father Dan often refers to this as “the devil is scratching”.  He uses this phrase whenever something happens that has the effect of making us question what we know to be RIGHT.

Today, just as in the day when the Book of Wisdom was written, society will look down on, and insult those who follow the ways of the Lord.  Why?  Well, our human (and sinful) nature really doesn’t like to feel inadequate or inferior.  So, what do we do when we feel inferior?  We point to the one who seems “superior” and insult them in an effort to make them inferior, thereby making us superior.

These insults come in the form of how stupid or uninformed they are.  We point out how “behind the times” they are.  We point out a “better” way, that gives more self-gratification.  

So, if we turn that around, when we are trying to be a “just one” and follow our call to discipleship, others will treat us in this same way.  

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,*

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.f  Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me.g12* Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.h Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Mt. 5:10-12)

Our call to discipleship is not a call to “get with the times”, but rather a call to live in the truth.  Jesus is the “Way, the Truth and the Life” (Jn. 14:6).  Public discourse is the most divisive and demeaning it has ever been in my lifetime.  Where we stand and how we treat others in this discourse should be defined by our call to discipleship.

Do we partake in insulting those who are on “the other side” in an effort to make “our side” look superior?  

I tell you; I see and hear that every day, from both sides.  Standing up for what is right does not include “revilement, torture and comdemnation”.  

These were their thoughts, but they erred; for their wickedness blinded them,
and they knew not the hidden counsels of God; neither did they count on a recompense of holiness nor discern the innocent souls’ reward.”

Do we live and speak out (with charity) as disciples of the Lord, who guard the Truth?  

Discipleship is hard.  It’s much easier to just “go along” with prevalent wave of society.  “Social norms have changed and so must we.”  That may sound good, but what hasn’t changed is Jesus.  He is still the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Maybe this time away from social gatherings and the mundane rituals of our daily life will not only give us more time to spend with the Lord and reflect on our own discipleship but will also give us time to reflect on how we participate in this social discourse.  Hopefully, it will give us time to think about how we talk to those with whom we may not always agree.  Hopefully, it will give us time to reflect on how we LIVE out our call to use our gifts from the Lord as his disciples.

Brothers and sisters, I truly long for the day when we can be together again at the table of the Lord.  Until then, please know that you are all in my prayers daily, and I pray that we emerge from this Lenten retreat as one Body of Christ that loves and serves one another as disciples of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Good health, Blessings and Peace to you and your families,

Deacon Len