HOMILY: Hardships & Discipleship

5th Sunday of Easter | April 23/24, 2016

Fr. Brian Zumbrum’s homilies and reflections are posted weekly at Leaven in the World. To see the archive of all his posts, just click here: Salesian Sermons

PROTIP: You can take a look at the Sunday readings here. This homily focuses on the first reading.

Love one another as I have loved you.

It sounds so simple, right?

And yet, I don’t know about you, but somehow this command ends up being a lot harder than it looks.

On Tuesday of this past week, I found myself driving home pretty defeated. For when I looked back on the day, I had pretty much failed at life in most of my interactions that day.

I found myself snapping at students and getting really frustrated. Where was my patience? Where was my giving them the benefit of the doubt?

I found myself judging my colleagues. Where was my ability to meet people where they are? Why was I being so arrogant?

I found myself just racing from one task to another. Where was my peace of mind? Where was my conscious choice to live with God in the present moment?

And as the day drew to a close and we all gathered to discuss what we were grateful for, I struggled to come up with anything. How had I become so cynical? Why was I so cold?

Was this really my attempt at loving others the way God loves me?

It seems this whole being a disciple is a lot harder than it can look on paper.

But then I read the first reading for today and suddenly I had a whole new insight into what it means to be a disciple.

See, I had always heard Paul talk about hardships and presumed these were external struggles that we needed to overcome.

And yes, there are things that hit us and make it hard to keep the faith, make it hard to love. We do have the stresses that come with finances and family, deadlines and difficult people, peer pressure and loss.

But I had never really given much thought to the fact that most of my hardships as a disciple are self-inflicted.

All of the little failures in which I fail to love. All of those moments in which I am stressed out and frustrated, petty and judgmental, self centered and arrogant. Those moments in which I can do better, but don’t.

And yet it is to all of these hardships that St. Paul speaks. For being a disciple does not mean that we will not have hardships. It does not mean that we will do this perfectly. It just means that we will not let those hardships stop us from striving to be a disciple.

Even when we are our own hardship.

It means that we just pick ourselves back up and strive to be a better reflection of God’s love in the next moment.

And in so doing, we will be the disciples that God calls us to be.

May God be praised!

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