Commentary on the Gospel of
Memorial of St. Paul Miki, S.J. and companions
OK, I wasn’t planning to channel Andy Rooney, but it seems like things are going that way. I apologize in advance…
What’s all this about the days when we suffered or joined the sufferings of those in prison? Or what’s this about joyfully accepting the confiscation of my property…?
At this point let me interject the newer translation from the Missal of the words of introduction to the Lord’s Prayer: At the Savior’s command and formed by divine teaching we dare to say…
What do we dare to say? The Lord’s prayer? I’ve said it thousands of time and never blinked. What’s the big deal about this “daring” stuff?
Here’s my thought: If I take a moment to consider what I pray when I say, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done…” I need to pause to collect myself. Do I really mean what I say? I usually mean, “O God, please bring about your Reign in a way that it doesn’t inconvenience me, in a way that does not ask me to give up anything or lose anything.”
It’s when I stop to think that I get, shall we say, concerned. What if God were to take my prayer, our prayer literally? Yikes!
But wait, there’s more! Doesn’t the first half of today’s gospel say the complete opposite of what the letter to the Hebrews says? Is it suffering and endurance or is it planting the seeds and waiting for it all to happen? Does the Reign of God sneak in even when I’m not toughing it out every day?
Let me now lay aside Andy Rooney for a moment to try to answer this. On the one hand, Mark seems to address people who are convinced that nothing will happen for good unless they do it themselves or unless they control it. The gospel seems to say to us, “Get over yourself!”
On the other hand, Hebrews seems to counsel folks who have had a heck of a time already and yet face the prospect of continued difficulties. The writer instructs us to concentrate completely on what we should be doing – endurance, remember the good things to come, etc…
What that says to me is that there’s no one generic Christian life. There’s no one generic way to live discipleship. It takes discernment to notice the movement of grace in my life and respond accordingly.
May the Spirit of God lead us to wisdom and discernment!