Have you ever felt left-out in a certain gathering you attended? Maybe it was the conversation that was happening at the time and you didn't feel you could contribute. Perhaps you didn't know anyone at a party you went to and were the one off by yourself most of the night. It's never a fun situation to be in, feeling excluded and left-out when others seem to be having a great time. You want to be included and feel like you belong. So often, we try to 'fix' ourselves, in order to fit in, even if that means taking steps away from your belief in the process. In our modern world, especially with the rise of relativistic thinking, it can be a great challenge to both hold firm to your belief in God, and truly feel included with the whole of society. However, God is with us, helping us to stay strong when we become weak and helps us to know that we are never alone. In fact, He shows us that it's okay to stand apart and be different, giving His greatest tasks to those who follow Him fully. Just remember that you are never alone.
Today's Gospel states:'And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: "Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. "Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. "Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh. "Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets. "But woe to you that are rich, for you have received your consolation. "Woe to you that are full now, for you shall hunger. "Woe to you that laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. "Woe to you, when all men speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets' (Luke 6:20-26).
Today's reading talks about how we can be excluded in our lives, left out and forgotten by people of the world. The disciples of Jesus' time were definitely thrown out of a few towns because people rejected the teachings they were sharing. It wasn't an easy task to share God's Word, and hasn't gotten any easier in our present day. Though it may not be easy, that does not mean it's not worth the challenge. What sounds more enticing, fitting in with a certain crowd for a small period of time, or being one with God the Father in heaven and becoming fully wrapped and accepted in His love for eternity? Sounds like a bit of a no-brainer to me. Take some time to pray and ask God to help you in the times you may feel excluded.
Today we pray:
Thank You for showing me the fullness of Your love through everything that You've done in my life. Help me when I may feel excluded from the world, to know that I am never alone, but that I have You.
I pray in Your most holy name, Amen.