Silence, and go ahead, suggest the Pope: When we meet with opposition, we must turn toward doing good elsewhere.
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In the Gospel reading of June 26, 2022, we hear of Jesus being rejected by the Samaritans. His hot-headed apostles, James and John, react with a desire to “rain down fire from heaven.” Jesus chooses a different way.
Pope Francis reflected on this lesson today before leading the midday Angelus.
The apostles, he said, “allow themselves to be overcome by anger.”
This happens to us too when, even when we are doing something good, perhaps even with sacrifice, we find a closed door instead of being welcomed. So we get angry. We even try to involve God himself, threatening heavenly punishments.
But, the Holy Father continued:
Jesus, instead, takes another route, not the path of anger, but that of a resolute decision to go forward, which, far from translating into harshness, implies calm, patience, long-suffering, not slackening the least bit in doing good.
This way of being does not connote weakness, no, but, on the contrary, a tremendous interior strength. It is easy, it is instinctive, to allow ourselves to be overcome by anger when faced with opposition. What is difficult, instead, is to master oneself, doing as Jesus did who, as the Gospel says, “went on to another village” (v. 56).
This means that when we meet with opposition, we must turn toward doing good elsewhere, without recrimination. This way, Jesus helps us to be people who are serene, who are happy with the good accomplished, and who do not seek human approval.
Pope Francis suggested that we do a little self-examination about how far along we’ve come with this self-mastery.
Now, we can ask ourselves: What point are we at? What point are we at? In the face of opposition, misunderstanding, do we turn to the Lord? Do we ask him for his steadfastness in doing good?
Or do we rather seek confirmation through applause, ending up being bitter and resentful when we do not hear it?
The Pope said that at the heart of this difficulty can be a false reason for doing good, or for our religious fervor.
Many times, consciously or unconsciously, we seek applause, approval from others, and we do things for applause. No, that does not work. We must do good out of service, not seeking applause. Sometimes we think that our fervour is due to a sense of justice for a good cause. But in reality, most of the time it is nothing other than pride, united with weakness, sensitivity, and impatience.
Thus, Pope Francis invited us to pray to be like Jesus:
So, let us ask Jesus for the strength of being like him, of following him resolutely down the path of service, not to be vindictive, not to be intolerant when difficulties present themselves, when we spend ourselves in doing good and others do not understand this, or even when they disqualify us. No. Silence, and go ahead.
May the Virgin Mary help us make the resolute decision Jesus did to remain in love to the end.