Aug 7 2020 Reflection
Friday 7 August 2020
First Reading: NA 2:1, 3; 3:1-3, 6-7
It is I who deal death and give life.
DEUTERONOMY 32:35CD-36AB, 39ABCD, 41
Gospel Reading: MT 16:24-28
Today’s Note: Friday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to his disciples,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
Or what can one give in exchange for his life?
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory,
and then he will repay each according to his conduct.
Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here
who will not taste death
until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”
See, upon the mountain there advances the bearer of good news. (Nahum 2:1)
What is the “good news” Nahum is proclaiming? The defeat of Judah’s archenemy, Assyria.
We may have trouble understanding why the prophet is so happy about “the many slain, the heaping corpses, the endless bodies to stumble upon.” For centuries, however, this “bloody city” had terrorized the Middle East, building its empire through deliberate cruelty and violence (Nahum 3:1, 3). In its wake, the Assyrian army left mounds of dead bodies, untold enslaved natives, and anxious, greedy looters. Through Nahum, God promised to destroy Assyria and restore what this enemy had ravaged.
Similarly, God promises to defeat our worst enemies and restore us. As St. Paul wrote, Jesus “must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. . . . Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:25, 57).
But if we want to experience this promise of victory, we need to identify our enemies. What is the real evil in each situation?
Is my real enemy the person who slighted me when I expected praise? Or is it my resentment as I hold on to the insult? Is my real enemy a challenging circumstance, such as illness, unemployment, or loneliness? Or is it the anxiety that makes it impossible for me to entrust these situations to God and experience the comfort of his presence? In every circumstance, God promises to act on our behalf—but our enemy, the devil, uses these circumstances to entice us to give up and slip away from God.
You have two choices when you feel weak or “ravaged” like Judah (Nahum 2:3). You can let the difficulty weigh you down, or you can run into the arms of your Savior, who promises to hold you close and give you his guidance and his peace. So cling to him, no matter the situation, and watch him change your heart and defeat your real enemies: Satan, sin, and death.
“Jesus, I believe that you have conquered every enemy that rises up against me. Help me to love you and to trust you.”