Thirty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time (November 13, 2016)

In today’s Gospel, we experience Jesus telling us that regardless of the situation that surrounds us, we must persevere in following Him. Francis de Sales speaks similarly:

Will there exist a society, a religion, an institution, or manner of living so secure that it is exempt from evil? Since this danger affects all, it is perilous to live in a world with those who do evil. In confronting evil, we must distinguish between actual events and imaginary fears. While God does not give strength for an imaginary conflict, God will certainly give us strength when the need arises. Many of God’s servants were frightened and almost lost courage in the face of imaginary danger. Yet, when the actual danger came they conducted themselves with courage.

If left to our own imaginary fears, we would perhaps lose courage and do nothing at all to overcome evil. Alas, we must work. Our Lord desires combatants and conquerors of evil. If we feel we lack courage, let us cry out in a voice full of confidence, “Lord, save me!” If we have good desires to serve God, but not sufficient strength to put them into practice, let us offer them to God, who will make us capable of accomplishing them. God will renew our desires as often as is necessary to make us persevere. It is enough that we have a desire to fight valiantly with perfect confidence for the Spirit will help us.

So long as we persevere in doing God’s will, God will make us victorious in perilous times. Let us lay our good will before Our Lord, who will renew it so that we may have enough courage for our whole mortal life. Little children feel secure when they are in their mother’s arms. They feel that nothing can harm them provided they are holding her hand. Although times of conflict may frighten us, we too must hold the hand of our “God Almighty,” who protects us and makes us secure.

(Adapted from the writings of Saint Francis de Sales)