Paul was encouraging his young protege Timothy to bear his “share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God.” Naturally timid people like Timothy, would shy away from controversy and conflict in the accomplishment of their ministry. Paul on the other hand was a bit more bold. He waded into controversy with greater confidence than anyone. And that was perhaps why he was writing Timothy from prison. But he reminded the young disciple who was set in charge of a community of disciples at Ephesus that the strength we need does not come from ourselves, but from God.
Jesus was a target of confrontation and ridicule by the religious leaders of Israel. The Sadducees used their opposition to belief in the resurrection to poke fun and antagonize him. But clearly Jesus must have been shaking his head as he spoke to them about the resurrection not being just a continuation of life as we know it. Using their own rules, they were strict literal interpreters of the Torah–the first 5 books of their scriptures and did not see any proof in the scriptures about the resurrection, Jesus pointed to the passage in Exodus where God referred to himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who were long dead as far as they knew. But God is the God of the living, so Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob must be alive somehow. There was an element of mystery that was beyond anyone’s understanding. Grasping the meaning of the resurrection would not be easy. But clearly this belief was not inconsistent with the Jewish faith nor that of the Sadducees.
We have received from God a spirit of power, love, and self-control which makes us strong, loving, and wise, and enables us to live faithful amid the challenges and trials of our state in life. In our current climate of trials, even religious leaders are not so bold. Some are, marching alongside the protesters, while others issue statements, and still others watch and wait from the safety of the sidelines. Power, love, and self-control come from God. Intimidation, hatred, and violence clearly do not. Stand firm in the faith. There is more about our life with God in the resurrection that we cannot comprehend now. But we know it will be glorious.
This mass was offered for the repose of +Maxine & Robert Berrang.
Rolo B Castillo © 2020