Lift Me, Lord

First Reading: Ephesians 6:10-20

Brothers and sisters:
Draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power.
Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm
against the tactics of the Devil.
For our struggle is not with flesh and blood
but with the principalities, with the powers,
with the world rulers of this present darkness,
with the evil spirits in the heavens.
Therefore, put on the armor of God,
that you may be able to resist on the evil day
and, having done everything, to hold your ground.
So stand fast with your loins girded in truth,
clothed with righteousness as a breastplate,
and your feet shod in readiness for the Gospel of peace.
In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield,
to quench all the flaming arrows of the Evil One.
And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God.

With all prayer and supplication,
pray at every opportunity in the Spirit.
To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication
for all the holy ones and also for me,
that speech may be given me to open my mouth,
to make known with boldness the mystery of the Gospel
for which I am an ambassador in chains,
so that I may have the courage to speak as I must.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 144:1B, 2, 9-10

R. (1b) Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
My mercy and my fortress,
my stronghold, my deliverer,
My shield, in whom I trust,
who subdues my people under me.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
O God, I will sing a new song to you;
with a ten stringed lyre I will chant your praise,
You who give victory to kings,
and deliver David, your servant from the evil sword.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!

Gospel: Luke 13:31-35

Some Pharisees came to Jesus and said,
“Go away, leave this area because Herod wants to kill you.”
He replied, “Go and tell that fox,
‘Behold, I cast out demons and I perform healings today and tomorrow,
and on the third day I accomplish my purpose.
Yet I must continue on my way today, tomorrow, and the following day,
for it is impossible that a prophet should die
outside of Jerusalem.’

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem,
you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you,
how many times I yearned to gather your children together
as a hen gathers her brood under her wings,
but you were unwilling!
Behold, your house will be abandoned.
But I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say,
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”



Most days, I feel woefully unprepared to pick up my cross and face whatever may come. I struggle to be kind to my own family let alone perfect strangers. I don’t want to say “yes” to hardship and suffering. I just want to keep my head down and get through the day.

What I want and what God wants are not always the same thing. Actually, if I am being completely honest, they are rarely ever the same thing.

Thankfully on today’s First Reading, Saint Paul gives me examples on how to properly prepare myself to make it through the muck and the mire of my daily struggles. First, there is courage. Saint Paul inspires me to have courage and place my trust in the Lord, for without Him I can do nothing. I am not strong enough on my own to do what God is asking me to do. I need Him to lift me up and never leave me.

Saint Paul knows all about this. Without God’s redeeming grace, he would still be a murderer, his soul lost forever to evil and death. Instead, he said “yes” to God when he was struck down from his horse and blinded and went on to become one of His most effective evangelizers.

Saint Paul teaches me to cling to my faith, holding it as a shield against the Devil and all those things that pull me away from my Redeemer. He instructs me to dive into God’s word which is indispensable in this battle and stand firm in the knowledge of my salvation that comes only from the Lord God. All of these tools help me to face the day ahead with grit and determination to do my best to love God and my neighbor well. Some days I win the battle. Other days I fall in defeat clinging to the mercy and grace of the Cross, begging God to deliver me from evil and forgive my transgressions.

In loving my neighbor as I wish to be loved, I speak the gospel of peace. I am called to love God above ALL else. In doing so, I seek to bring ALL I have, both in need and want, to the foot of the cross, laying it before the King of Kings, so that His will may be done.

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Saint Paul inspires me to seek the courage to want what God wants and the fortitude to strive for victory. Do his words speak to you today?

Mary Lenaburg married her first (and only) blind date going on 27 years, is a full-time liturgist, and parents one adult son navigating his path on earth and a special needs daughter safely in Heaven. You can find out more about her here.

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