“Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart and yield a harvest through perseverance” (Lk 8:15).
How can we keep the word with a generous heart? How can we keep the Word of God, Jesus, at the center of our lives, so that we may love God with all our heart, soul, and mind (Lk 10:27)? In today’s first reading, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s love of God gives them the strength to persevere and refuse to worship the god of King Nebuchadnezzar, leading the king to exclaim, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who sent his angel to deliver the servants who trusted in him; they disobeyed the royal command and yielded their bodies rather than serve or worship any god except their own God” (Dn 3:95). There are times in our lives when, by the grace of God, we see the harvest of our perseverance in ordinary and extraordinary ways.
There are times in our lives when we do not keep God’s word and fail to see him in the people and events we encounter. The first reading is juxtaposed with today’s Gospel reading, in which Jesus rebukes those who believe in him, “I know that you are descendants of Abraham. But you are trying to kill me, because my word has no room among you” (Jn 8:37). As Holy Week approaches, how can we make room for the Word of God and keep the word with a generous heart? How can we prepare our hearts to follow Jesus to the cross?
Saying “yes” to the small things in our everyday lives can train us to say “yes” to greater things, especially when it comes to loving and following the Word of God during difficult moments. Father Roger Landry, author of the book Plan of Life, suggests that we ask ourselves, “What do we do to concretize our love for God and others?” He describes how charity needs to be planned, such as planning to offer up each day for someone and reaching out to them. In the words of Fr. Landry, instead of showing random acts of kindness, we should plan acts of kindness. This Holy Week, let us fully participate in the holiest week of the year by planning our time around God and the people he places in our lives.