Immersed in Christ. One Body. One Mission.

Browsing Reflections Archive

April 27, 2021

Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners,

We encourage you to reflect on Tuesday’s readings at this link:
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/042721.cfm

If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading:  Acts 11:19-26
Responsorial:  Psalm 87:1b-3, 4-5, 6-7
Gospel:  John 10:22-30

Our reflection on Tuesday’s readings:
“Those who had been scattered by the persecution . . . went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word . . . (Acts 11:19)

It’s easy to think of God’s call to discipleship or mission in terms of doing something really different.  The disciples in Acts ventured far from their homes, risking everything, to places we still consider exotic.  Missionaries still endure hardships and risks.  Their lives are definitely not like mine, as an 82-year-old man living quietly, comfortably in a suburb.  That difference is reinforced with the steady stream of solicitations we receive from missionary organizations that work to spread the Word of God and to take assistance -- spiritual, medical, educational and economic -- to people in distant, very different places.

How do I come to see myself as Christ’s disciple when I’m at a stage in life that is increasingly restricted in scope?  How do I live to affirm my commitment to His teachings every day and acknowledge that I am one of His sheep, that he is my shepherd and that I follow His voice?

Today’s gospel emphasizes “believing.”  Jesus says, “I told you and you do not believe.  The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me.  But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep.” (John 10:25-26)   As I read that, I wondered, “How could they not believe?”  After all, it was Jesus who told them.  Isn’t it true that “seeing is believing?”  Well . . . maybe not.

My reflecting yielded two quotes that helped me make sense of this.
            “Some things have to be believed to be seen.”  (Ralph Hodgson, poet)
            “Unless you believe, you will not understand.”  (St. Augustine)

In other words, I start by choosing to believe.  I’m helped in doing that by trusting God’s Word.  Trust is the glue in my relationship with God.  Trust leads me to choose to believe, which leads me to see what I’d otherwise miss, which helps me more fully understand and accept.

In a tangible way, I am told by doctors that exercise and certain medications can make my life better.  First, though, I must choose to believe and accept that what they say applies to me.  And so it is with my faith.  I grow spiritually by integrating God’s Word – piece by piece – into my behavior and my attitudes. Only then does it flow naturally into my relationships with other people. 

I yearn for this process to bring more spiritual conversion into my life.  I want to translate more of my spiritual beliefs into what I see every day . . . and I believe I’m never too old to grow in my openness to being changed . . . After all, believing can bring all of us the changes we can see, right here, right now. 

Peace, my friends,
Bill Bradbury

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