Just continue doing apostolate despite contradictions

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

THIS is what we can learn from St. Paul who, despite being contradicted and rejected by some people, just proceeded to go on preaching. (cfr. Acts 18,1-8) These contradictions should not stop us from carrying out our important duty of spreading the Word of God, which is another way of showing and imparting the very spirit of Christ on the people.

If we have to be consistent with our Christian identity, then we have to be ready to be a sign of contradiction, as Christ himself was and continues to be. Let’s not forget that prophecy made by Simeon when the child Jesus was presented in the temple. “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted and you yourself (Mary) a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Lk 2,34-35)

We have to train ourselves to be tough with the toughness of Christ so we can take on any and all forms of contradictions that we can encounter in life. Yes, we can be misunderstood, slandered, mocked, persecuted and even martyred in this life. But we should not worry, because as Christ himself assured us, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world!” (Jn 16,33)

Our toughness should be the toughness of Christ who was and continues to be willing to bear all the problems of men, and goes all the way to offer his life for the salvation of men.

With Christ and in him, our toughness would also know how to be tender and gentle, how to be understanding, compassionate and empathetic, as described in this passage from the gospel of St. Matthew: “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not extinguish, till he leads justice to victory.” (12,20)

While our toughness will always be a fruit, first of all, of God’s grace, it will also depend on our proper attitude, skills and virtues. What we have to do first is to rein in but not suppress our emotions and passions, subjecting them to the tenets of our faith rather than just the impulses of our hormones.

We have to learn how not to overdramatize the pain and suffering involved in bearing the burdens of the others. This is important because this will help us to think more objectively, and therefore enabling us to make better judgments and assessments of things.

Ideally, we should not be weighed down by any worry since God takes care of everything. Some Bible passages reassure us of this truth. “So do not fear,” the Book of Isaiah says, “for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (1,10)

And St. Paul in his Letter to the Philippians says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (4,6-7)

Still, from the Psalms, we have these reassuring words: “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?” (27,1)

Email: roycimagala@gmail.com

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