Jesus reminds His disciples of the difficulties they will encounter along the bumpy road of life. He speaks of “wars and tumults,” of “nation rising against nation,” of “great earthquakes,” of “famines and pestilences,” of “terrors,” of “betrayals and persecutions.” In Jesus’ own words…
“Not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance, you will gain your lives” (Lk. 21:18-19).
The beautiful Good News of the Gospel is that while God loves us in an infinite number of ways, He never loves us more clearly, more beautifully, than when we’re hurting. We can’t explain it, but it’s part of the Gospel — part of the Good News.
In Albert Camus’ novel, “The Fall,” there is a devastating scene in which a respected lawyer, walking in the streets of Amsterdam, hears a cry in the night. He realizes a woman has fallen or been pushed into the canal and is crying for help. Then the thoughts come rushing through his mind: “Of course I must help, but a respected lawyer getting involved in this way? What would the implications be? And what about personal danger? After all, who knows what has been going on over there.” By the time he has thought it through, it is too late. He moves on, making all kinds of excuses to justify his failure to act. But, Camus, in one devastating line, says, “He did not answer the cry for help because that is the man he was.”
As Christians, we are not listening to Jesus if we cannot answer another’s cry for help. We are not listening to Jesus if we are worried about the implications of getting involved. We are not listening to Jesus if our first impulse is to say, how will this affect me, rather than how can I help you? And if we are not listening, won’t that speak volumes about the people we are?”
And so, we pray: Lord, I need your help always to not think about me but to think more about my neighbor… anyone in need. Help me not think about myself but think more about those I could… and should help. In Your name. Amen.
Grace and Peace