Thu, 4 June 2020
O apostle of the faith
called out from monastery walls
to travel into the world,
laboring and suffering
even to the shedding of blood
as you steered Christ’s ship
pounded by waves
but kept on course,
spreading out upon the face of the earth
by the sacrifice of shepherds
like yourself –
pray the bishops of today
will unceasingly teach the faith,
defending the Church from all assaults,
never silent in the face of danger,
never turning from their call
but preaching the Gospel
in season and out of season
that in all seasons
Christ’s flock might increase
and be strengthened.
Let us rather die
than give in to the impending darkness.
Thu, 4 June 2020
(2Tm.3:10-17; Ps.119:157,160-161,165-166,168; Mk.12:35-37)
“Princes persecute me without cause
but my heart stands in awe of your word.”
The Word of God and persecution are our topics for today. On the one hand, Paul tells Timothy, “All Scripture is inspired of God and is useful for teaching,” and Jesus uses a passage of Scripture (Psalm 110) to refute His persecutors and verify that the Son of God, the Word of God made flesh, is indeed greater than David – being David’s Son insofar as the flesh is concerned, but truly begotten of God the Father and one with Him from all eternity. And on the other hand, Paul states categorically, “Anyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus can expect to be persecuted,” and our psalmist sings, “My persecutors and my foes are many.” But these two hands become one hand, working in the one Body of Christ, revealed in the passage Jesus quotes: “The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.” For by the power of the Word of God in Scripture and made flesh in Christ we His children conquer with Him all our enemies… these persecutors become as so much empty wind.
Brothers and sisters, never lose awe for the Word of God spoken in Holy Scripture. Be like Timothy who “from [his] infancy” knew “the sacred Scriptures, the source of the wisdom which through faith in Jesus Christ leads to salvation.” Treasure this gift at our hands, “inspired by the Holy Spirit” as it is for our instruction. And I pray your teachers will always be as Paul, so faithful to the Lord in knowing His Word and living it with “resolution, fidelity, patience, love, and endurance, through persecutions and sufferings.” Then your path will be straight on the way to God; then will your hearts and minds be filled with light. There are many “evil men and charlatans” about who, “deceived themselves” and “deceiving others,” fail to drink of the undrainable waters of Scripture, and who avoid the Lord’s cross at all costs… listen not to these.
“I turn not away from your decrees,” our psalmist declares, and so he finds “great peace” despite any trial. Brothers and sisters, for us who love the Lord and are like the crowd in today’s gospel who “heard [His words] with great delight,” “there is no stumbling block.” All our persecutions but add to our ever increasing knowledge of our Savior, drawing us ever closer to the kingdom of God, where Jesus reigns forever.
O LORD, as we contemplate your Word, we find you –
you who are Truth, you who are God…
and so have great peace.
YHWH, let us stand in awe of you and your Word; Jesus Himself is the Word imparting wisdom to us that by faith in you we might be saved. Lead us unto life everlasting by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
And as we heed your Word, O LORD, and walk in His way, give us the endurance that comes from you; for indeed we shall be persecuted if to Him we remain true. As Jesus was led to the Cross and all His apostles as well, so will all those obedient to your Word in Sacred Scripture, all those who find life in your commands. But in you we shall ever have peace, for with you we shall ever be.
O majestic LORD, far above us all, let us not be deceived by false teachers who would lead souls into sin but be ever guided by those you appoint to stand in Jesus’ place and guide the Church unto glory. May your apostles remain firm in your way that all may come soon to your eternal kingdom.