Today’s Gospel reading is one that I had to read a couple times in order to understand what was going on. Jesus sometimes throws these curved balls where it’s hard to understand exactly where he’s coming from.
The disciples are rejoicing because they’ve seen the power of Christ at work in casting out demons. He reminds them that we should rejoice not because of what we can see God doing or our own ability to share the Gospel, but because we are children of God and he desires us in heaven with him.
It reminds me of how we work so hard at our faith and we don’t always see results. It gets frustrating. How many times have we talked to someone about our faith and they shut us down or treat us like we are weak. Whether it’s praying for an end to abortion or for the conversion of a loved one, sometimes it seems like God doesn’t hear us.
It is easy to be a disciple when we see progress.
It’s easy to be a disciple when the culture is on our side and we have “Catholic Celebrities” encouraging us along the way. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with seeing progress or rejoicing when we have our prayers answered. However, Jesus himself reminds us that we shouldn’t rejoice at results but at the fact that “our names are written in heaven.”
In the first reading we hear of Job and how God blessed him with beautiful daughters. But we all know Job was also blessed with severe trials in order to prove his faithfulness. Trials that would leave most people cursing God. Can you imagine losing your children in a terrible accident? Losing all your animals and livelihood? The only thing left were three servants who were the sole survivors of the tragedies. I pray to God that I can still rejoice and praise him even when faced with hardship.
It’s much harder to wear your faith with pride when you realize being Catholic means that people might not invite you to the neighborhood barbecue. Or when we have to defend Mother Church amidst a period of horrible scandal.
Praising God is much harder when we don’t get the things we want. Catholicism might lose a bit of its appeal when things aren’t going great. But none of that matters. Christ is real and he’s in the Church. He’s present at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass all around the world. God the Father calls to us every day in the simple things. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told lately that God talks to us in the silence.
Whether we’re in a period of consolation (where we see and feel God in our lives) or we’re feeling desolation (alone and abandoned) God is still with us. We are still called to be saints and there is a great plan for our lives that ends in our union with God in heaven.
Patrick produces YouTube content for young Catholics on Catholic Late Night and Overt TV. He loves using humor to share the Truth of the Catholic faith with anyone who will listen. He resides currently in Chattanooga, TN and is a parishioner at The Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul. Patrick graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville with a degree in Communication Arts and a Minor in Marketing.