Wednesday, November 29, 2006

a reflection on today's Lectionary readings

Based on Rev. 15:1-4 and Luke 21:12-19

Elsewhere in this Gospel according to Luke, Jesus says, “A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.” I think this is a key to interpreting Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel: “You are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I will give you a wisdom in speaking.” A life of faith, a life that lives out the command of God to love God and to love others—the fruits of which are goodness and the power of God and holiness in our hearts---is the only preparation we will ever need if ever we are called to give a defense for our faith. Out of our experience of living as disciples of Jesus, out of that goodness, and with the help of God, we can adequately give defense if need be for our faith.

We do not live in a society that persecutes people of faith in the same way that the first readers of this Gospel experienced, and which some of our brothers and sisters today are experiencing in other countries. But there are times when our faith is tried; events and circumstances that life throws at us. It is perhaps in those moments when somebody asks, “How do you manage, what keeps you going in spite of everything that you’ve gone through,” that we can give an explanation, an explanation that comes from within, deep from a life of living in faith and trust—-an explanation that reveals God’s help, God’s grace, God presence in our lives; an explanation that becomes praise to God.

From the 1st reading the apostle John saw a vision of countless people in heaven praising God. I can’t help but think that they spoke spontaneously, unprepared, unrehearsed perhaps, because they spoke from deep within, from the heart, from a life of undying faith and trust. May our lives of faith continue to cultivate in our hearts the goodness of God, which when expressed and proclaimed resound the words of the saints in heaven: “Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord God Almighty.”

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