How intensely Paul suffered over the rejection of the Gospel by many of his fellow Jews! Of course I’ve known suffering, as we all have, but I don’t know that I’ve ever wished myself “cut off from Christ” for the sake of others, as Paul does. There are a lot of things that frustrate me, even anger me. The world consistently fails to live up to my expectations, and that includes me! I wish the state of our world, our nation, my community, my church, and yes, myself, were different, and sometimes—often—I’m overwhelmed by it all. What can I do? What can God do, and why does God sometimes seem so indifferent? Paul must have wondered the same. He recounts all the blessings the Israelites have received from God, but in his estimation, they’ve missed the one blessing who is “over all”—Christ.
Our work for justice (along with all our other obligations) can be so all-consuming that it’s easy to lose sight of Christ. That seems to be what happened to Peter, as he noticed the wind and the waves and began to falter. It’s a good reminder for me that all my work counts for nothing if I’m not being led by Christ. I need to stay focused on him in the midst of my work, following his example to take a break from my work and spend time in prayer, listening for that tiny whispering sound so I can hear his call. I can’t change the world by myself, just as I can’t still the wind, but I can keep my eyes on Christ and follow where I think he’s leading me. Paul did the same. Despite his disappointments, he continued the work he was called to and allowed God to do the rest.
- What might God be calling you to do right now, and what might God be calling you to let go of?
- Have there been times in your life you’ve lost sight of Christ and faltered? Have you experienced Christ reaching out to catch you? What was that like?
Douglas Leal serves as Chief Mission Integration Officer with Providence St. Joseph Health, a multi-state Catholic health system. He also has experience as a management consultant and as a professional actor and director. Douglas is a frequent presenter on spirituality, faith formation, liturgy, and other topics, and is the author of the skill-building book for lectors, Beyond Reading: Advanced Training for Proclaimers of the Word (LTP).