Sixth Sunday of Lent -- Matthew
The apostles look bad in the Passion story. Jesus had just spent the best years of his life trying to teach these men how to live in the presence of God. They had worn out several pairs of sandals following him up and down the land of Israel, seen dead people raised and lame people walk. Yet this band of disciples was unprepared to defend their Master. When the beloved followers of Jesus are asked to stand up and be counted, they stepped back.
How refreshing! If the apostles, whom the Church will revere in cathedral windows one day, had their doubts and fears, there's hope for us!
Whenever we're tempted to think we'll never be able to share the Good News of the Gospel with other people, we should think of SS. Peter, James, John, and all the others. They had to go through the terrible Friday and Saturday events. It was not until Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit filled them with courage and love, with peace and understanding, that they became valiant proclaimers of Christ. The dear, stumbling apostles remind us that it is never by our own power that we stand up for Christ. It is a gift bestowed on us, free and undeserved. The lessons we learn in the hard times will inspire us and shape our character.
The apostles' weakness should also remind us to be merciful and patient when someone we love is not living their faith as we desire. Like the apostles, they may emerge from their trials wiser and closer to God. In these final days of Lent, let us pray for one another.