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WE NEED PATIENT ENDURANCE

Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

Rom. 8:18-25 & Lk. 13:18-21

If we were to give medals to biblical personalities, Saint Paul would win the one for the most energetic! He never seemed to tire in his zeal for preaching, travelling, writing, in his care of the Churches and even suffering for Jesus. Paul is an inspiration for everyone in how to follow Christ. What was his secret?

What motivated him and enabled him to continue and to be successful in the face of the worst odds? The answer is to be found in the first sentence of today's reading, “I think that what we suffer in this life can never be compared to the glory, as yet unrevealed, which is waiting for us.” He could find strength for every task and carry on his work with patient endurance because he possessed such deep and enduring hope.

We try to live worthwhile lives, doing what we can to help others and make the world a better place, but there is no doubt that discouragement sometimes occurs. The goal seems so far away, and we feel that we may never reach it. Salvation is not in sight, and a great deal of patience is needed. Would not even St. Paul have found life very hard, from time to time, as he travelled around facing new challenges? He would have to start from scratch again, preaching the word of God to a new group of people.

I think we have to be patient with ourselves, taking one step at a time. We may think we are making little progress but a glance over our shoulders at what we have achieved so far with God’s help can give us the courage to go on. Jesus tells us that the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed: from that tiny beginning it eventually grows into a huge tree, but that does not happen overnight. So let us take life a day at a time, tackling each problem as it comes along and thanking God for allowing us to work for Him. God helped us to get through yesterday and He will help us again today. In the words of Blessed John Henry Newman's hymn, “Keep thou my feet, I do not ask to see the distant scene; one step enough for me.”

Lord Jesus, we thank you for choosing us to know and love You. Each day may we follow in the footsteps of energetic saints like Paul, never losing sight of the reward You have prepared for us.

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