2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Could you be described as “hard of face and obstinate of heart” (Ezekiel 2:4), particularly in matters of faith? What aspects of the Catholic faith have you yet to embrace with an open heart? Do you question God’s plan of sheer goodness (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1) for you, a loved one, or the world? In Mass, do you believe what you cannot see, as you witness ordinary bread and wine become the Body and Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ? Does the Word of God dwell in you richly? When people spend time with you, do they “know that a prophet has been among them” (Ezekiel 2:5)?
At Baptism, each of us receives an anointing with sacred chrism oil, at which time the priest or deacon prays these words, “As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet, and King, so may you live always as a member of his body, sharing everlasting life.” In our Baptism, we are called to “play [our part] in the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the World” (CCC 897). Since today’s readings specifically mention “prophet,” let’s take a little deeper look at what it means to live out our call to and share in Christ’s prophetic office.
Christ establishes the lay faithful “as witnesses and provides them with the sense of the faith [sensus fidei] and the grace of the word” (CCC 904). His grace, as we learn from St. Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “is sufficient for you.” Even more incredible, it is our very weaknesses, those moments of doubt, uncertainty, and even troubles, that burst forth His astonishing power. Our witness is perfected by grace, especially when we are honest about our struggles of faith but still willing to continue to seek His truth. Regardless of what we fail to understand, we still know Jesus is our Lord and Savior. If we could see and understand all, then what would be the purpose of faith?
Witnessing, is not always as easy as sharing what Jesus has done for us or our reason to believe. The most compelling witness comes from the things people see us do over the words we choose to speak. There can be a great difficulty for us to be an evangelizing disciple to our friends, family, or neighbors — possibly the very people we most wish to know the goodness of our God. There is some consolation knowing Jesus himself faced such difficulty, and to know he could be “amazed at [the] lack of faith” some people exhibit. He, however, did not give up, and neither should we.
Instead of becoming discouraged or trying to force our desire for all to believe, perhaps this is when we pray that someone else will bring the Good News to those we cannot. Then use our energy to learn how to better lean on the grace of God to both grow stronger in our faith and to live out our call as Priest, Prophet, and King. To pray the Spirit of the Lord falls upon us so we may bring glad tidings to those willing to have their obstinate hearts softened too.
To you I lift up my eyes,
to you I turn in times of trouble and doubt.
Pour your grace into my heart
to illuminate the things I do not understand
and long to know.