In the first reading, we read of the prophet Habakkuk who is witnessing a tragedy in
Imagine if we knew the day we were going to die. Do you think we will live our lives carelessly or make rigid plans? The answer is no. We will try to live each day to the best of our ability because we already know that the hourglass is pouring away. Our perspective would change if we had the ability to know our expiration day beforehand, so to speak. However, this is not how life works. We are conceived, born and grow. We do not know what will happen a minute from now, more less when we will die. Only God knows these things (Psalm 139:2). Because we do not know, we worry. When we worry, we lose hope. When we lose hope, we lose faith; and when we lose these, we lose charity or love. Life then becomes a survival of the fittest contest where we believe in nothing and love no one but ourselves. This is why God tells Habakkuk, "The rash one has no integrity; but the just one, because of his faith, shall live." We must have faith. We must trust God even in horrible times when it feels like God packed up His bags and went on vacation, so to speak (Psalm 37:5).
At all times, especially bad ones, we must look to Jesus for faith (Hebrews 12:2). We must not harden our hearts like the Jews did, as we are told in the Responsorial Psalm, which is used as the Gospel Canticle for Lauds or morning prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours. Instead, we must sing to God joyfully and praise Him. At Mass and in our private prayer time, we bow and kneel before Him in prayer and worship. This is a gesture of humility before God. We surrender to God and let Him flood us with grace. Before God, we are "half" the person we think we are. The act of kneeling or bowing represents this physically. We cannot stand eye to eye, shoulder to shoulder with God. God and man are not equals. He is our God and we are His people, the flock He cares for, as the Psalm states. However, we must not do like the Hebrews at Meribaha where they challenged God (Exodus 17:7, Numbers 20:13). While there, they denied God and questioned His care and omnipotence. We must not become ungrateful after witnessing in our lives the wonders God worked just like the Hebrews who saw great wonders and then doubted (Luke 7:9).
Our hearts cannot be hardened in times of desperation and trial. We must be the just one who perseveres (Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11). God will not give us anything we cannot handle (1 Corinthians 10:13). The Spirit we have received from Him is not a cowardly one, as the second reading tells us. This Spirit brings us to be patient and self-controlled. We bear things from the world and even from among each other in the Church. Because of this Spirit, we must be courageous and have faith (Matthew 8:26). We must not be ashamed of the Gospel nor scared to be witnesses of Jesus Christ. People may mock us, and they surely will, but we must bear it for the sake of the Lord (Matthew 10:18). God will not be mocked and those who denied Him or were ashamed of Him will have to face Him at death or the end of times (Matthew 10:33, Galatians 6:7). God will never abandon us and promised to be with us until the end of time (Isaiah 41:10, Matthew 28:20). When you are mocked or persecuted for your Catholic faith, smile. Smile because you know you are doing the right thing. This world hates God, so it will never be on your side or the side of our Catholic Church (John 15:18-19). That being said, do not expect to be comfortable as a Catholic in this world.
Finally, in the Gospel, we read
Our Protestant brethren who believe in the heretical view that one must simply accept Jesus and one is saved must really meditate on today's Gospel. Such a pretense to salvation is vanity (1 Corinthians 10:12). St. Ambrose says, "Know that you are a servant overwhelmed by very much obedience. You must not set yourself first, because you are called a son of God. Grace must be acknowledged, but
We must respond to grace with faith and put that faith into action. Even faith the size of a mustard seed is efficacious. St. Augustine says "A mustard seed looks small. Nothing is less noteworthy to the
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