Jesus speaks some powerful (and painful) words in today's Gospel: "But you are trying to kill me because my word has no room among you." How often is our first response one of hostility -- even if it is contained in our hearts and never seeps out into our actions -- when we are faced with a difficult truth or an inconvenient situation? Perhaps someone has pointed out an unconscious habit we have which is irritating to those around us; maybe someone has corrected or challenged us with respect to a fact which forces us to reconsider some significant aspect of our life. More likely, it may simply be the vicissitudes of daily life that present us with opportunities to be patient and charitable. In each inconvenience that befalls us: lost car keys, an irritable neighbor, interrupted internet service, etc., is an opportunity to allow the Lord's grace to work in us -- a chance to make room for the Lord and his word, a chance to accept that which is beyond our control and trust that the Lord will use it for our growth in holiness, in patience, in charity. He will use it to continue to make our hearts bigger so that there is more room for Him and all things which are dear to Him.
As the passing days of Lent draw us closer to Holy Week and the celebration of the Lord's passion, let us welcome every opportunity which will help us to make room for the Lord and His saving word.
"So long as God’s Providence does not send you great and heavy afflictions; so long as He does not ask your eyes, at least give Him your hair. I mean, take patiently the petty annoyances, the trifling discomforts, the unimportant losses which come upon all of us daily; for by means of these little matters, lovingly and freely accepted, you will give Him your whole heart, and win His. I mean the acts of daily forbearance, the headache, or toothache, or heavy cold; the tiresome peculiarities of husband or wife, the broken glass, the loss of a ring, a handkerchief, a glove; the sneer of a neighbor, the effort of going to bed early in order to rise early for prayer or Communion, the little shyness some people feel in openly performing religious duties; and be sure that all of these sufferings, small as they are, if accepted lovingly, are most pleasing to God’s Goodness, Which has promised a whole ocean of happiness to His children in return for one cup of cold water. And, moreover, inasmuch as these occasions are forever arising, they give us a fertile field for gathering in spiritual riches, if only we will use them rightly."
St. Francis de Sales