When My Faith Isn't an Adrenaline Rush

June 29, 2021   Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles Vigil (Lectionary: 590)

Reading I   Acts 3:1-10
Peter and John were going up to the temple area
for the three o’clock hour of prayer.
And a man crippled from birth was carried
and placed at the gate of the temple called “the Beautiful Gate”
every day to beg for alms from the people who entered the temple.
When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple,
he asked for alms.
But Peter looked intently at him, as did John,
and said, “Look at us.”
He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them.
Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold,
but what I do have I give you:
in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk.”
Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up,
and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong.
He leaped up, stood, and walked around,
and went into the temple with them,
walking and jumping and praising God.
When all the people saw the man walking and praising God,
they recognized him as the one who used to sit begging
at the Beautiful Gate of the temple,
and they were filled with amazement and astonishment
at what had happened to him.

Responsorial Psalm   19:2-3, 4-5
R. (5) Their message goes out through all the earth.
The heavens declare the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day pours out the word to day;
and night to night imparts knowledge.
R. Their message goes out through all the earth.
Not a word nor a discourse
whose voice is not heard;
through all the earth their voice resounds,
and to the ends of the world, their message.
R. Their message goes out through all the earth.

Reading II  Gal 1:11-20
I want you to know, brothers and sisters,
that the Gospel preached by me is not of human origin.
For I did not receive it from a human being, nor was I taught it,
but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

For you heard of my former way of life in Judaism,
how I persecuted the Church of God beyond measure
and tried to destroy it, and progressed in Judaism
beyond many of my contemporaries among my race,
since I was even more a zealot for my ancestral traditions.
But when God, who from my mother’s womb had set me apart
and called me through his grace,
was pleased to reveal his Son to me,
so that I might proclaim him to the Gentiles,
I did not immediately consult flesh and blood,
nor did I go up to Jerusalem
to those who were Apostles before me;
rather, I went into Arabia and then returned to Damascus.

Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem
to confer with Cephas and remained with him for fifteen days.
But I did not see any other of the Apostles,
only James the brother of the Lord.
--As to what I am writing to you, behold,
before God, I am not lying.

Alleluia   Jn 21:17
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Lord, you know everything
you know that I love you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel   Jn 21:15-19
Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples
and, when they had finished breakfast, said to Simon Peter,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
He then said to Simon Peter a second time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
He said to him the third time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time,
“Do you love me?” and he said to him,
“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger,
you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted;
but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you
and lead you where you do not want to go.”
He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.
And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”

By Madelyn Bass 

In one week, I went from being a full-time college student taking 20 units with 2 jobs and membership in 5 clubs to an unemployed college graduate. No more classes. No more jobs. No more clubs.

There’s no doubt that there is struggle in this transitional period of my life. Last week, I was sitting on a Zoom call with other members of my university’s Catholic organization. And now, sitting at home without these memberships and responsibilities, I feel abandoned. It’s almost as if my faith life was only alive and well when it was conveniently stamped into my schedule.

I ask myself, where is God in the monotony?

I remember in high school and even college, coming off of “retreat highs” and settling back into the mundane routine of everyday life.

My junior year retreat in high school turned my heart around. It was a waking moment that guided my conversion of heart where I surrendered to the God of peace to take priority in my life. When I came back home, however, I hit a wall. Everything I experienced about who Jesus is and what He means to me became a mere memory.

Even on my most usual and normal days, I wrestle with the expectation that my faith should be this adrenaline rush.

I compare myself to the lives of my peers, who even in their most transparent states of life, still seem to be set aflame by God. Meanwhile, I’m hanging onto that high, that vulnerable moment, powerful conversation, that speaker’s testimony, or that new relationship. Without it, my fire feels extinguished.

I’m learning that conversion is a lifelong process. It’s simultaneously messy and beautiful. Sometimes, it’s a burning, raging fire; it’s alive and busy. At other times, it’s painfully monotonous.

Even when my heart feels inactive, God is working through every part of it.

In the Gospel today, Jesus challenges the love of his disciples, Simon Peter and John, asking them repeatedly, “Do you love me?” As a sign of their love for Him, they must tend or feed the sheep. Reading these words, I empathize with the distress of the two apostles.

In the first reading, Peter assists in raising a man who learns to walk again. With this visual, people’s hearts are returning to the Lord in praise. But, feeding sheep? Maybe Simon Peter and John did not see as much value in these small requests; maybe they wanted to do something tangible and groundbreaking. Instead, they are gently asked to follow Christ amidst the simple work.

I want to do something groundbreaking with my life. My selfish heart wants to be seen and heard for the grand things that I’m doing, in hopes that the fruits of my labor will be made visible. I don’t always know how to be like Saint Teresa of Calcutta, to love God and others through the small things.

Yet, I hear God asking me, “Do you love me?” or “Will you follow me?”

While I can beg God to use me in big ways to prove my love for Him, I know that my “yes” to love is just as necessary now as it was yesterday. My call to sainthood is uniquely my own; it won’t look as grand as the early disciples or maybe as monumental as the saints that have gone before me. But, I do know that my simple mundane life matters to Jesus.

This time of nothingness and rest might just be what God needed in order to reach me. No distractions, no busyness. Just myself and God.


Maddy Bass is a simple gal with a big childlike heart. As a full-time Communication Studies student at the University of San Diego, with a passion for social and restorative justice, she strives to be a bearer of the Good News in the digital age. She is always on the hunt for stories worth sharing, underrated coffee shops, thrift store deals, and opportunities to be intentional. Find out more about her here.

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