Study: Recall a time when you had to speak up in a difficult situation. How did you face it? What gave you strength to do it?
Pray: Ask the Lord for the grace to respond to challenging circumstances with love. Call upon the Holy Spirit for the gifts you need.
Serve: How can you support someone who is faced with a tough task right now? How can you help them?
Let’s start with a quick recap of the readings this week:
- 1st Reading: Jeremiah will be strengthened to preach a difficult message
- Psalm: We proclaim God’s goodness, especially when life is tough
- 2nd Reading: The Love of God shapes and directs our lives
- Gospel: Jesus encounters opposition at Nazareth
The first reading, psalm, and Gospel all refer to moments that challenge us. The prophets encountered it, the Psalmist sings about it, and the Lord himself met resistance and opposition to the message he proclaimed. But note this: in spite of the difficulty they did it.
Sometimes saying what needs to be said is unpleasant and unwelcome. We might want to avoid it or wish someone else could do it, but there are times in life when it’s up to us to deliver a tough message. We know what needs to be said…and that it’s up to us to speak.
The key is how we say it. How does our intention, our desire, and our tone convey a tough message? The answer is found in the second reading: Love. The love of Christ guides and directs every aspect of our lives – including those times when we are called to speak about a difficult topic.
This notion of “what” and “how” shows up repeatedly in the spiritual life:
- What refers to the issue, content, and “facts” of a situation or circumstance
- How refers to the manner in which it is conveyed – the way we do something
Our faith calls us to confront the reality of life, particularly when things are tough. We need not fear engaging a difficult situation; rather, we draw on the love of Christ to guide us – both in what we say and how we say it – trusting that the Lord will provide us with the grace we need.
Let’s face it: Life is tough! But when the going gets tough, the tough get going…guided by God’s love.
Note: This post was first published on January 26, 2016.