“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.” - Thomas Merton: (1915 – 1968 was an American Catholic writer and a Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani Kentucky, he was a poet, social activist, and student of comparative religion. In 1949, he was ordained to the priesthood and given the name Father Louis.)
Gospel Text: (JN 10:22-30)
The feast of the Dedication was taking place in Jerusalem.
It was winter.
And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon.
So the Jews gathered around him and said to him,
“How long are you going to keep us in suspense?
If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
Jesus answered them, “I told you and you do not believe.
The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me.
But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep.
My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
No one can take them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.
The Father and I are one.”
In today Gospel, Jesus message is simple - It is through him and his Father that we are cared for and gain eternal life. Have faith in God and allow Him to guide us and we will never perish. Yes, doubt is natural, but by listening to and truly hearing the word of God we gain comfort and inspiration to move beyond. Just as the disciples were able to persevere after persecution and even the death of St. Stephen (the first martyr), so too can we. Yes, we will continue to confront struggles in our daily lives, but take comfort that we are accompanied by our Father.
The message is clear – listen to the word, be strong in faith, and we will be in our Father’s hand.