View all Gospel Reflections |
Saturday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
The Pharisees went out and took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. When Jesus realized this, he withdrew from that place. Many people followed him, and he cured them all, but he warned them not to make him known. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through Isaiah the prophet: Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved in whom I delight; I shall place my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. He will not contend or cry out, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory. And in his name the Gentiles will hope.
Opening Prayer: Jesus, I want to love others as you do. I can do only this if you love through me. Lord, teach me your ways!
- Divine Meekness: In the verses directly before today’s Gospel passage, Our Lord plainly told the Pharisees he was God. Their response was to take counsel against him to put him to death. It can be so disheartening when we share our faith in Jesus by either word or deed and are met with the kind of animosity that Jesus experienced here. We are tempted to retaliate in kind, but instead we should do as Jesus does. Jesus let the Pharisees be and turned to those who were receptive to him. To do as Jesus does here requires meekness. Meekness is the virtue which gives us the power to suppress our instinct to hate or harm another through control of our will. ”We ought to be like lilies in the midst of thorns, which, however they be pricked and pierced, never lose their sweet and gentle fragrance” (St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Father and Doctor of the Church).
- Divine Mercy: No matter how we are treated, meekness is the appropriate response. But Our Lord also calls us to be merciful in the face of opposition. As Our Lord told St. Faustina, “I demand from you deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for me. You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse or absolve yourself from it. I am giving you three ways of exercising mercy toward your neighbor: the first by deed, the second by word, the third by prayer. In these three degrees is contained the fullness of mercy, and it is an unquestionable proof of love for me. By this means a soul glorifies and pays reverence to my mercy” (Diary 742). When we are able to be meek and merciful, by God’s grace, we will hear him proclaim, “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved in whom I delight.”
- Divine Humility: “He will not contend or cry out, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory.” To share our faith in Jesus with others often means we have to learn to play the long game, to delay gratification now so as to win souls later. If our efforts fall on deaf ears and disbelieving hearts, it benefits us to trust that God is at work and persevere in humility. We want to be the one who brings a soul to full bloom, but we may be called to only plant the seed. With the Pharisees, Jesus had to “withdraw from that place,” even though, as the Son of God, he never ceased interceding for them. We do likewise, standing firm, “until he brings justice to victory. And in his name the Gentiles will hope.”
Conversing with Christ: Lord, I sometimes get discouraged when those I love, and whom I want to love you, refuse to believe in you. I see that you experienced the same. I realize, Lord, that it is not me they are rejecting; it is you. Jesus, I am sorry so many do not know you, love you, and serve you. And I am sorry for the times that person is me. Please forgive me. Help me to love others as you do.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will work on putting into practice the three ways you told St. Faustina to show mercy: 1. By deed, 2. By word, 3. By prayer.
For Further Reflection: Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska – Divine Mercy in My Soul.
Nan Balfour is an events coordinator for Pilgrim Center of Hope, a Catholic Evangelization Ministry that answers Christ’s call by guiding people to encounter him so as to live in hope as pilgrims in daily life. She is also a mother, writer, and speaker on Catholic topics.