It is always valuable to take a few moments to look over the Scripture readings for each celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Sometimes I find that there are short sentences that suddenly jump out at me as if I had never read them before! There are several in our readings for today that do just that.
The Alleluia verse is the first: “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of God rests upon you.”
After living as a disciple and even as a priest in our Catholic faith for many years, I cannot remember a single moment when I have ever been insulted in the name of Christ. I am sure there are times when individuals may have distanced themselves from me because of who I am, but I have no recollection of anyone ever actually insulting me, at least not to my face! But our Alleluia verse tells us that if, indeed, this should ever happen we would, in fact, be blessed. And not only blessed but even have the Spirit of God resting upon us. While I may fear being insulted, I certainly long for the Spirit of God to rest upon me! Perhaps the challenge inherent in this is that I may need to witness my faith more radically than I do at the present time. Perhaps I live my faith too cautiously!
This challenge to a more radical witness is also found in our first reading from Isaiah. There is an amazing vision of the Lord, the Holy One, seated upon his throne. Along with this great vision come words that I must remember in simple ways every day: “Here I am Lord, send me.” God reveals himself to us all in great and small ways each day. And our response to this intimate revelation can be nothing less than an awareness that to know the Lord also means to realize that we are sent forth in His holy name, as well! Send me Lord, send me!
And lastly, in our beautiful Gospel passage from Matthew we are reminded that we are even more precious to God than all the birds of the air! Not a single sparrow falls from the sky without the knowledge of our heavenly Father. We should not be afraid to go forth and witness our faith for we are “worth more than many sparrows.”
Brief and concise sentences are found in our readings today and each of them is packed with challenge and assurance. We need both!
Fr. Pat Brennan, C.P. is the director of Saint Paul of the Cross Passionist Retreat and Conference Center, Detroit, Michigan.