WITNESS versus ADVICE?

THE Gospel of Mark 6 1-6 :

Gospel of Mark 6 1-6 

Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples. When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands! Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.” So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

The Gospel of the Lord.

 

Recently, I have been presented a most difficult and awkward situation.  A reality which will truly challenge my resolve in certain Catholic teachings.  I find myself swimming against the tides of social acceptance, especially within my own family, direct and extended.  I just need to look on social media to prove it.  I know and embrace our faithful teachings and pray to God to continue to do so.  And to give me hope in this ordeal, Bishop Frank Cangiano offers some outstanding words to help me along as he gives life to last Sunday’s gospel. 

When we find ourselves in the difficult position of being unable to spiritually help those whom we love, it is very easy to become disappointed. At times, such disappointment can even lead to resentment and anger. However, if we remember the spiritual fact that God loves those whom we are unable to help, whether they be our children, grandchildren, siblings or friends, in ways that are both generous and unknown to us, we have a powerful reason to fight against developing such resentment and anger. Rather, we must surrender to God and ask Him every day to do for those whom we love what we cannot do for them ourselves.
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The other insight that gives me great solace is the assurance that witness is always more important than advice. What I mean is that we often wish to help someone by offering advice, often drawn from our own personal experience, to help the person avoid the mistakes that we fell into in life. Most often, such advice falls on deaf ears. However, our witness, which includes the way we now live our lives, the joy we demonstrate, and our commitment to love them even when they avoid our help or advice, is a powerful way to give them “advice without words.” At first, they may ignore or dismiss our witness. However, integrity of life always wins out over indifference and hostility. So what may at first seem to be fruitless, as we try to lead people in faith by our advice and counsel, may actually in time bear great fruit, by the actions of our lives, which includes the fact that we did not give up on loving them.
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Being a prophet in one’s own land is never easy. However, if we learn to trust in God’s love for the people around us and we remain faithful to what we believe, the path forward may in time become easier than we first realized.

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