Psalm 85:9ab and 10, 11-12, 13-14
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.
The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
“Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn
as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast.
No one patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth,
for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse.
People do not put new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined.
Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”
Good News Reflection: Some say this is impossible
Running a ministry and keeping it going for 23 years would have been impossible if God had not inspired the founding of Good News Ministries and continued to call it forth day after day, year after year.
The miracles that have happened testify to this. One such miracle occurred in 2004. For three years, Fr. Joseph Kimu, rector of a seminary in Malawi, had been inviting me to come teach his seminarians and professors and diocesan catechists for a week. My reply was always: “When God wants me to go, he’ll provide the funds.” The cost for airfare was $3,000. Good News Ministries had far less than that back then.
Then one day, a grant became available. I had not researched for it. I had not requested the grant application. This never happens: The foundation actually made the first contact! They invited me to submit a request. When I explained Fr. Joseph’s wish, they donated $1500 toward it.
At that moment, we had only $1500 in the bank. Going to Malawi would empty the account, but when existing funds plus the grant equaled the exact amount needed for the trip, it was too coincidental to be anything but the Lord. Sure, it would be risky to deplete the bank account. And it felt risky to be a woman traveling alone to a Third World country. But if we are sincere about serving the Lord, we must go wherever he leads.
God is never stagnant, and he does not want us (his children, his followers, his friends) to stagnate either. We grow in holiness if we allow ourselves to be challenged by what is inconvenient, what seems filled with risk, and what some say looks impossible.
We don’t go seeking risky ventures. That would be fool-hardy. Rather, we seek God’s will. We pay attention to the inspirations of his Holy Spirit. When he gives us new wine, we look for the fresh wineskins that he provides for it.
Where I sit, it’s been a scary (but interesting) summer. In May, I headed off for a month-long sabbatical in order to respond to the call to write a new book. Before I left, I noticed that the ministry’s bank account was heading toward empty faster than expected (due to fewer donations coming in than expected; our expenses have not gone up).
Whenever it becomes necessary to beg for more support, serving the Lord feels very risky. Of course God plans to provide an abundance for everything he calls a person or a team to do. And of course God has first provided it to those whom he has specially chosen to be distributors of his financial support. The problem is, it feels risky — or at least inconvenient — to most of us when he chooses us. God desires all of us to serve as new wineskins stretching beyond what is comfortable.
You and I are now facing this essential question: Do we believe that God is still calling forth Good News Ministries? If I believe it, then I must become willing to do whatever is necessary to obey his calling. For me, this means begging my readers for help when I wish I could be working on my new book. What does it mean to you?
We’re running out of time! I’m not going to beg after July 15th, lest people get too weary of it. I’m counting on the Lord to inspire many, many readers who have been gifted with any income at all. I’m counting on the Lord to speak to the one person reading this who has much wealth but has not yet served as his partner in this ministry. I’m counting on the Lord to speak to me through the goodness of the many who have not yet responded to this summer’s fundraiser.
There are several thousands of people reading this who wish they could contribute but truly cannot — people like Maria. These people are counting on the Lord to inspire the support from others who will keep this ministry going.
If you can, please make a donation now. If you cannot, please tell us of your commitment to prayer support.
Thank you! God bless you!!!
© 2018 by Terry A. Modica