October 21, 2014

Wednesday of the 29th Week of Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings: October 22, 2014
Ephesians 3:2-12
Isaiah 12:2-6
Luke 12:39-48
www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102214.cfm
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
ccc.usccb.org/cccradio/NABPodcasts/14_10_22.mp3

Eternally busy servanthood

What complaints do you have? What are you doing to improve each situation that has caused you to grumble?

Whenever we're unhappy, it's a sign that we need to do something – take action – to make a change. The feeling of being irritated and displeased is a grace-filled urge to make changes by using the gifts and training and insights that God has given us. It's not supposed to make us cranky; it's meant to motivate us off our lazy seats and do whatever we can, with God's help, following his guidance, always alert to his timing.

Change starts by pointing the finger of responsibility at ourselves. Are we unhappy with others? We cannot change them, but we can improve something in our own lives to relieve the misery. Are we actively searching for alternate ways to get our needs met? Are we humble enough to change ourselves when wishing that others would change?

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus warns about the unfaithfulness of those who claim to be Christian yet disregard the Lord's will. When we know what needs to be done for the kingdom of God and we have the ability to do something about it, but do nothing, this is the grievous sin of apathy compounded by disobedience.

Sometimes we're unaware of what needs to be done or how to get it done. As Jesus said, we're only accountable for what we understand. This is why a person who breaks a Church law without understanding it is to be given patience and time, along with evangelization and education – by those who do understand.

Woe are we if we see a need and understand its importance and have the ability to fix it and neglect to take action! Jesus wants to find us busy serving the kingdom of God in our daily lives all the way up to the hour of our deaths: in our secular workplaces and other positions in the world, not just in church. Remember, we don’t have to look religious to be serving God.

The "Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity" from Vatican Council II was written to remind us that we are all called and gifted to "renew the temporal order". We are enabled and required to restore the temporary world to the condition that God wants for it, which is a reflection of the eternal world of heaven.

Society tells us that our goal for aging is to live longer and enjoy lots of restful retirement years with plenty of time to play and cater to ourselves. But Jesus did not say, "Blessed is the servant whom his Master finds busy when he returns, unless he's retired." There's always a way to serve God, even if our bodies become totally disabled.

Christian servanthood is the greatest possible lifestyle, because it has eternal results. Why would we want to give that up to do crossword puzzles and watch TV all day?

God has gifted you with the means to serve him. You can make the world a better place – and he is relying on you! Amidst the increasing crises of our world today, your service is all the more necessary.

© 2014 by Terry A. Modica of Good News Ministries (gnm.org)
For PERMISSION to copy this reflection, go to gnm.org/copyrights.htm
For professionally published reflections and other Good News materials for RCIA, church bulletins, etc., please visit Catholic Digital Resources at catholicdr.com

To sign up to receive the Good News Reflections by email, go to gogoodnews.net/DailyReflections

October 20, 2014

Tuesday of the 29th Week of Ordinary Time

Today's Saint: Ursula 
Pray for Catholic education:
wordbytes.org/saints/DailyPrayers/Ursula.htm

Today’s Readings: October 21, 2014
Ephesians 2:12-22
Psalm 85:9ab-14
Luke 12:35-38
www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102114.cfm
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
ccc.usccb.org/cccradio/NABPodcasts/14_10_21.mp3

Living as citizens of the kingdom of God

You know the old saying, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." We could extend that to: "While living in the world, do as the worldly people do." But God says, "You're a citizen of MY kingdom now, so do as the Saints do. Do as Jesus wants to do – as his hands and voice – in every worldly place that you visit."

That's what St. Paul reminds us about in today’s first reading. Think of what happens when you visit old friends or family who live in sinful or unhealthy lifestyles, or when you spend hours each day working side by side with worldly people. Maybe you were just like them before deciding to become more like Christ.

Now that you've journeyed through spiritual conversion and emotional healing, how easy is it to revert back to worldly and unhealthy ways when you're around them? Do you allow yourself to be infected by their attitudes and bad habits (foul language, for example, or gossiping and bad-mouthing others)? Or do you behave like the Saints, your new friends?

Sometimes, we think we have to blend in so that we'll be accepted or to make the visit peaceful or to avoid trouble in the workplace. But, as Paul points out, Jesus is the only true source of peace.

There's a wall of enmity that divides us from those who don't know Jesus or don't know him well enough to behave like him, and the only way to break it down is "through his Flesh." How is that done? Guess what! We are his Flesh whenever we do what Jesus would do. When we unite ourselves to Christ's Body and Blood in the Eucharist, we become Eucharist for the world. At the end of every Mass, we're sent out with a blessing that empowers us to be Jesus for others.

Therefore, we can do and must do what Jesus would do whenever we interact with the world, loving everyone no matter how they treat us, forgiving them no matter how often they sin, being patient and kind, reaching out to offer healing when they seek it, standing up for the downtrodden, explaining the truth when people are willing to learn it, and so on.

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus says we should be constantly ready for our Master. When he knocks, will he find us awake and ready to spring into action, girding ourselves for running to wherever he sends us? Will our lamps be brightly lit so that the world can see who we are and Who is in us? Or will we miss his knock because we're distracted by the noise of the world?

In every moment, we are either joined to Christ or we're disappearing into the darkness of the worldly behavior around us. God says, "You're a citizen of MY kingdom now, so do as the Saints do. Do as Jesus does. All the time!"

© 2014 by Terry A. Modica of Good News Ministries (gnm.org)
For PERMISSION to copy this reflection, go to gnm.org/copyrights.htm
For professionally published reflections and other Good News materials for RCIA, church bulletins, etc., please visit Catholic Digital Resources at catholicdr.com

To sign up to receive the Good News Reflections by email, go to gogoodnews.net/DailyReflections