Over the next few days, we will mark the special feast days in the Passionist calendar. Tomorrow will mark the feast of the exultation of the Holy Cross and the following day will mark the feast of our Mother of Sorrows. The scripture today is pointing the way and acting as a guidepost announcing this special week. In the first reading from Timothy, where the author is exhorting his community to live peaceably. A plea to make no enemies among the community. It comes as a very egalitarian plea. Scripture scholars refer to 1st Timothy as a preeminent example of a Christian raised in faith. The author suggests that the community promotes faithful instruction and pay heed to the laws. The author warns his community to be careful of those who teach false doctrines.
Our Gospel story shows Jesus being surprised by the faith of another pagan. Throughout the synoptic Gospels, Jesus consistently finds faith “not even in Israel.” We hear from the mouth of the centurion a familiar verse recited before our Eucharist celebration.
This is the feast of St. John Chrysostom; he was considered in his day to be a great preacher. While far from teaching false doctrine, he was declared a Doctor of the Church.
Today, we stand on the shoulders of those who have wrestled with doctrine and the interpretation of Scripture within their time. So many people were raised by the Holy Spirit in all ages. Like the psalm suggests, “Blessed be the Lord, for he has heard my prayer.” Today’s scriptures offer us an insight that while the times in which we live may feel like challenges to our faith. May we reflect as the psalm offers, “In him my heart trusts, and I find help.”
May the Lord, bless and console us as we face the challenges of today in trust. Amen.
Jean Bowler is a retreatant at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center in Sierra Madre, California, and a member of the Office of Mission Effectiveness Board of Holy Cross Province.