Scripture Reading: James 5:11

Today, no matter what challenge you encounter, do not be afraid, stand firm and go forward. You have come too far to back down and quit. Trust God, as He is the omnipotent One. “God will guide you continually,” (Isaiah 58:11). So, “Don’t be anxious about anything” (Philippians 4:6), “God is your strength and power,” (2 Samuel 22:33). For God promised to “repay two blessings for each of your troubles.” (Zechariah 9:12)

Our Bible reading today says “Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord — that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful” (James 5:11). Difficulties often deter those who started to follow the Lord. So James says, “We count them blessed who endure.”  “Who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles” (Matthew 13:20‐21). It’s a sad fact that some will renounce the gospel when serious difficulty arises.

No doubt, there are times when all of us are tempted to say, “But Lord, this is hard.” At such times, He would say, “I told you it would be hard. What were you expecting?” St. Paul said that we “must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22), He often warned his hearers that being a Christian would involve hardship (1 Thessalonians 3:3‐4). Besides, there is nothing we do for God that will be more difficult that what Jesus did for us.

In secular matters, the honourable people are those who tackle difficulty with a do-or-die attitude. The quitters are soon forgotten; they are irrelevant to the real work that goes on in the world. In spiritual matters, it is no different. Those who complain, “Lord, I would have done my duty, but it was just so hard,” won’t ever make much of a contribution to the kingdom — because “hard” is exactly what the work of the kingdom is. So we need to take heed how we deal with difficulty. The Lord is always patient with those who are willing to keep trying. But those who quit trying shouldn’t expect the Lord’s praise or anybody else’s. “Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts” (Samuel Grafton).

MASS: VIOLET ST. DAMASUS I, 2ND WEEK OF THE ADVENT Sirach 48:1-4, 9-11b; Ps 80:2ac and 3b, 15-16a, 18-19(R.4); Accl: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight; all flesh shall see the salvation of God; Gospel. Matthew. 17:10-13

Prayer Point:

               1.            Let us join Thomas Kempis in this prayer, “O Lord. I will know how I am likely to offend You in temptations, and that because of my evil inclinations I am in danger of losing my soul. But I also know that You can uphold me and help me resist my passions and the attacks of the devil. O my God, come to me, give me strength and encourage me for You are my hope and strength. Amen”.

Exercise: Reflect on Romans 12:12

Meditation: 1 Peter 1:6