Word to Life — Sunday Scripture readings Oct. 18, 2015

"So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help." -- Hebrews 4:16

“So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.” — Hebrews 4:16

Oct. 18, Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle B. Readings:
1) Isaiah 53:10-11
Psalm 33:4-5, 18-20, 22
2) Hebrews 4:14-16
Gospel) Mark 10:35-45 or Mark 10:42-45

 

By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service

A well-known adage says that only two things are guaranteed in life: death and taxes. I would like to offer a third certainty, struggle. If my own life is not evidence enough, the daily newspaper and my Facebook newsfeed confirm the truth that we all go through hard times.

Another adage says that it is how we respond to adversity that defines our character. I would suggest that this also speaks to our life of faith. It is easy to believe in God in the times of blessing, but it is another thing entirely to cling to him in times of struggle.

When my mother died, I was 26, and I wrote these lines in my journal:

Faced with an enemy and run, it will follow;

Faced with an enemy and turn and embrace, one will melt.

Love is stronger than fear,but the fear of love comes close.

I wrote this because I was struggling to embrace the reality of the loss of my mother. I wanted to run from my feelings and “be strong,” but I was failing at this. So my only alternative was to embrace the struggle and, well, struggle!

Jesus gives us the perfect example of the power of embracing struggle when he tells his Father that he wishes the “cup” of his suffering and death to pass by him. But as we know, he surrenders to the Father’s will and embraces the perceived enemy of suffering and death, and through that act he brings about the salvation of the world.

In this week’s readings, the author of the Letter to the Hebrews tells us: “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way. … So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help” (4:15-16).

The fact that our High Priest knows what it is like to suffer gives us a reason to be confident in coming to him in prayer in our own suffering.

To be sure this does not usually take the suffering away, but it does give us strength to bear the load and make it through our own suffering all the way to new life.

QUESTIONS:

How have the struggles of your life helped you grow in faith? How does knowing that Jesus suffered help you in your own struggles?

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