Lord, Help Us!
Those of us who pray the Liturgy of the Hours are very familiar with the opening dialogue: “O Lord, come to our assistance. O Lord, make haste to help us.” And I am pretty sure that each of us cries out “Lord, help us” quite often these days. In each case, we are acknowledging our dependence on God’s help! Perhaps we are dealing with beginning of school busyness and anxieties. Perhaps we are experiencing divisions at work or in our families. Perhaps we can’t stand to watch the “news” anymore because what we see and hear is so depressing.
And then this weekend we hear the words of Jesus in the Gospel. “Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on a household of five will be divided: three against two and two against three; the father divided against the son, son against father, mother against daughter, daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law, daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
What? More division? Jesus is reminding us that following him is not easy. When we answer the call to be disciples, to be Christian in word and deed, this sometimes stirs up anger and resentment in family and friends. Sometimes we even wonder how we hear or read the same Gospel and make excuses for our attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that are really quite different from what we would expect. To do what Jesus would do—to change oppressive structures, norms, expectations, views of women, strangers, lepers—is to follow a very different and difficult path. It led to Jesus’ crucifixion. For us, the change might be the fire, the one that is to set the earth on fire. We may want to take an easy way out—call it political, none of our business, too hard or expect someone else to do it. Most of the persons and communities that have been responsible for real change realized that the sure way to find peace was in God, not in humankind.
When has living the gospel put me at odds with another person or them at odds with me?
What keeps me from speaking the truth in love when I feel called to do so?
And so we pray: Provident and all-powerful God, you share your light of truth and passionately call us to transform our world. Guide our efforts to live our faith zealously, with fiery passion. Through Christ and with Christ our Lord’s assistance and aid. Amen!