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This is a test

Twenty-fifth Sunday Ordinary Time

September 19, 2021 •

"The wicked say: 'Let us beset the just one because he is obnoxious to us. ... Let us put the just one to the test, that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience. Let us condemn him to a shameful death, for in his own words God will take care of him.'"

"The greatest punishment God can give for sin is pleasure." — St Bernard of Clairvaux

Does it follow then that the greatest gift God can give for virtue is pain?

According to our faith, at least in this world, the Lord does not promise to delivery any of us. Now He does promise to deliver you after you die. After you've suffered. In My time, in My way.

So yes, it is true that we can put our faith in Him. But it doesn't mean that we won't be put to the test by the wicked. It doesn't mean that we won't suffer. It doesn't mean that we won't die - even unjustly.

But that still doesn't answer the question: Why would God give pain to someone who is actually doing the right thing, being virtuous? This is where God uses the wicked person to help bring about his will.

God wants His virtuous children to be put to the test. God chastises those whom He loves. His own children. He tests them. Why?

The only way to be sure of anyone's virtue or holiness is to test it.

We may be doing well, spiritually speaking ... when things are going well for us. But suddenly, some type of suffering comes into our lives and we start becoming impatient. Frustrated. Resentful. Judgmental. Selfish. ...

Where's your virtue now? A little suffering and suddenly your true self comes out. That's important though - we need to know how virtuous we really are. You can't be sure until you're tested.

The only way to be certain of our own growth in holiness, is suffering. God doesn't need to test us to find if we're truly virtuous or not, He already knows. He puts us to the test so that we know how virtuous - or vicious - we actually are. If you don't know where you are, you can't get where you want to go.

Out of love for you, to fulfill the very desire of your heart and prayer, God sends you suffering because you're doing the right thing, so that you can know yourself better and then continue to grow in holiness.

Wis 2:12, 17-20; Ps 54:3-4, 5-8; Jas 3:16--4:3; Mk 9:30-37

Homily begins at 18:50

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