A Hard Strength

“With the strength which comes from God bear your share of the hardship which the gospel entails.” —2 Timothy 1:8

We Christians do not run from hardship; we bear it and embrace it. We walk toward the Cross, not away from it. We do not shrink from trials in fear. Thus, the Lord commands in today’s Gospel reading: “Get up! Do not be afraid” (Mt 17:7).

We bear hardship for the sake of the gospel (2 Tm 1:8) in order to spread the Good News. Our Lenten hardships, indeed all our hardships, are for the upbuilding of the Kingdom of God and we bear them purposefully for the sake of the gospel (Acts 14:22).

We bear hardship with the strength that comes from God (2 Tm 1:8). The joy of the Lord must be our strength (Nm 8:10). In Him Who is the Source of our strength, we have strength for everything (Phil 4:13). We don’t bear hardship in our own stoic strength, or with human strength, for even the strongest of us humans are weak. But His grace is sufficient (2 Cor 12:9).

We walk through the cross, through the hardship, to transfigured glory (Mt 17:2) even while here on earth. “Christ suffered in the flesh; therefore, arm yourselves with His same mentality” (1 Pt 4:1). So bear the hardship (see Col 1:24).

PRAYER: Father, You are “my Stronghold; I shall not be disturbed at all” (Ps 62:3).

PROMISE: “The eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear Him, upon those who hope for His kindness.” —Ps 33:18

PRAISE: “If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!’ ” (1 Cor 15:32) Risen Jesus, purify my heart to live for You and not worldly desires.

(From a reflection by a member of the editorial team of the late Fr Al Lauer’s Presentation Ministries)

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John Portelli

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