Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 26, 2018)

In today’s Gospel, Jesus urges us to remain faithful to Him and to live in the “spirit that gives life.” St. Francis de Sales notes:

Our Savior came to recreate humanity. When we live in the Spirit of Jesus, we transcend our ordinary life in order to live a loftier life. We are so filled with divine love that we are like the stars whose light is totally absorbed in the sunlight. God lives in us, and our only desire is to unite our will to God’s Will.

To progress in living in the Spirit of Jesus, we must first of all accept ourselves as being less than perfect. Don’t lose heart, be patient, wait while joyously carrying out your daily activities. Do everything you are taught in a spirit of gentleness and fidelity. Develop a spirit of compassion. After we have planted and watered, we must realize that it is for God to give the increase to the trees that are our good inclinations and habits. For this reason we must wait to obtain the fruits of our desires and labors from divine Providence.

If we are not progressing, as we desire, let us not be disturbed. In living a holy life our whole life is destined to be a practical testing. Let us remain at peace so that calmness always reigns in our hearts. It is up to us to cultivate our souls well, and we must faithfully attend to them. But as for a plentiful harvest, let us leave the care of that to our Lord. The laborer will never be blamed for not having a fine harvest, unless he or she did not carefully till and sow his or her field. Our unwavering dependence on God assures us that we are solidly planted where God wants us to be.

I have no doubt that our Savior is holding you by the hand. If you stumble, it is only to let you know that if you let go of His hand you would fall rather than stumble. For those of us who love and hope in God, our weakness is not as great as God’s mercy.

(Adapted from the writings of St. Francis de Sales)