October 27, 2022 – Thursday 30th Week in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/102722.cfm)
Are you carrying some burdens now which affect your family life? Struggling on how to move forward after an emotional breakdown? Overwhelmed by stress and your negative emotions because of the demands and pressures on you? Confused and troubled on how to remain a good and honest Christian in the midst of corruption and dishonest transactions at work?
These can be only some situations where we are in at the moment and finding ourselves entangled by one or more struggles. And experiencing challenges in our life, where do we draw strength? Where do we get wisdom and understanding? Where do we get inspiration and guidance so that we remain steadfast in our faith, attain a healthy way of life and maintain our healthy relationships with people?
St. Paul calls and reminds us today, “to pray at every opportunity in the Spirit” because in this way then, we will be able to “draw strength from the Lord and from His mighty power.” When Paul wrote his letter to the Christians in the city of Ephesus who were also in the middle of struggles in their faith, he was himself in the prison. Paul was already persecuted at this time and was chained by his captors. And so Paul was writing from his own experience of drawing strength from the Lord. Despite being chained, Paul’s mind, heart and spirit drew strength from the Lord through prayer.
Hence, Paul reminds us to draw strength from the Lord because of the many ordeals that we may face. Paul mentioned of the “tactics of the Devil” which may offer us the “easy way out or shortcuts of doing things”. There will be “struggles from the evil spirits” that will bring us into darkness and deeper into hopelessness.
In order to face such challenges, Paul offers us ways on how we could draw strength from the Lord. Paul mentioned at least five ways.
First, to stand fast in truth. This means that we are called to be careful with lies and deception that may sound true to us. That is why, always seek the truth, always seek Jesus.
Second, on righteousness. This calls us to be morally upright in our relationships, in our work and ordinary dealings with others. This calls us further to uphold honesty, fairness, and respect for the rights of others.
Third, readiness for the Gospel of peace. We are to promote understanding and harmony in our homes and communities, workplaces and organizations, hence, by being able to accept and welcome others. This calls us to preach, live and create a community that nurtures the Gospel of peace and not indifference and division, not violence and hatred.
Fourth, to hold our faith in God. There could be other alternatives in facing one’s trial that we may have. Others may succumbed to addictive behaviors, to depression or to guilt or to something or someone else that one could thought to be a source of comfort and strength. However, these will only bring us deeper into darkness and hopelessness. Thus, faith in God, and holding on to it, as Paul tells us, will bring us always into the light and true source of strength. We may not always understand God’s way and God’s wisdom especially when we are in the midst of pain and trauma, yet, faith in God is already our assurance.
Fifth, the Word of God. The Holy Bible is a gift given to us. The Lord reveals his Divine presence and the Divine plan of salvation written in the Holy Scriptures to remind us of God’s faithfulness. Thus, we are called to meditate on the word of God that we may discover further God’s desire for us and God’s invitation for us to grow.
Jesus indeed, faced a great ordeal in his ministry. There were influential and powerful people who were against him, who rejected him and wanted to kill him. This was the warning he received from some of the Pharisees who asked him to leave their area. They must have showed some concern to Jesus for telling him about the insecurities and evil plan of Herod to kill him.
However, nothing can disturb, neither can stop nor discourage Jesus. His very person and identity, his ministry and mission are all founded in the constant love and faithfulness of his Father in Heaven. Such confidence in Jesus grew and developed more through his devotion to prayer as Jesus would always find time to commune with his Father in heaven.
And so, we too are all called and invited today to take the example of Paul’s commitment “to pray at every opportunity” and to grow more like Jesus who is secured in the love and faithfulness of the Father. Kabay pa.