Thursday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Heb 12:18-19, 21-24; Gospel Mk 6:7-13
At times, I used to wonder, how my brother priests, religious, and lay missionaries withstand the religious persecution in difficult situations? We all are aware of the heroism of Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil who had been abducted by IS in Yemen and released after one year of captivity. It is inspiring to read his biography titled: “By the grace of God,” that describes how he was kept alive in his hope in this adverse situation. I think Christian vocation is an invitation to accept such occurrences, and at times hoping against all hope as St. Paul would rightly say in his letter to the Romans. How can we remain so calm and serene in these situations, especially, when a piece of news that speaks to us of religious intolerance that instills fear in us? In today’s gospel, Jesus gives a clear answer to this. It is the Spirit of the Father who will be acting on behalf of us. I believe we need to understand our Christian mission from this perspective; let whatever be the challenging circumstances that we are in, we need to allow ourselves to be driven by the Holy Spirit as in total surrender. Heroic men and women are not sprouted in the church on a fine morning but they are ordinary people empowered by the Holy Spirit. It is the same spirit that strengthens our faith and heart even at the point of death to sing the hymn of thanksgiving and embrace death with a hope that He has conquered death and by dying with him we also live with Him forever. Let us surrender ourselves to the Spirit and let the Spirit guides us in this sojourn.