Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Reflections for the 31st Week in Ordinary Time, Part 2

Thursday – One Goal

We ought to have only one goal in this life: to know and love God, giving ourselves completely to Him. As St. Paul tells us in today's first reading, “None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself. For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.” 

God, in turn, also has only one goal: to get all of us home to Heaven to live with Him forever. That is the point of Jesus' parable in today's Gospel. The shepherd leaves his ninety-nine well-behaved sheep to search high and low for the one that is lost. When he finally finds it, he doesn't scold the erring creature. Instead, he gently carries it home, rejoicing all the way. 

Lord, I know that You want nothing more than to bring me home to You now in faith, hope, and love and forever in eternity. Please give me the grace to know You, love You, and give myself totally to You. Amen.

Friday – The Strange Story of the Crooked Steward

In today's Gospel, Jesus tells a rather strange story about a crooked steward. This fellow's master has finally caught on to his dishonest behavior and is demanding an account of his stewardship before he is dismissed. The steward knows he's in trouble now, and he starts to panic when he thinks about what he's going to do next. After all, he isn't strong enough to perform manual labor, and he has too much pride to beg. “Now what?” he wonders.

The steward, however, is a crafty man, and he quickly thinks of a way to secure his future. He calls in some of his master's debtors and proceeds to cancel out some of their debt, thereby earning their gratitude and making them indebted to him. He figures he can easily find employment with one of these men because they now owe him a big favor. 

Obviously, what the steward does here is morally wrong. He's cheating and stealing. So why, then, does Jesus tell us about him? 

Even the steward's master (although he must have been furious) recognizes that his former servant has acted prudently. He accesses the situation, makes a firm decision to do something about it, and acts on it in order to better his lot in life. 

Jesus adds that “the children of this world,” like the steward, “are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than the children of light.” This brings us to a question. In terms of the spiritual life, do we access our situation, make a firm decision to do something about it, and act in order to better our lot in eternity? Are we prudent in cooperating with God's grace? 

Let's conclude by listening to what St. Josemaría Escrivá has to say about this parable: “What zeal people put into their earthly affairs: dreaming of honours, striving for riches, bent on sensuality! Men and women, rich and poor, old and middle-aged and young and even children: all of them alike. When you and I put the same zeal into the affairs of our souls, we will have a living and working faith. And there will be no obstacle that we cannot overcome in our apostolic works” (The Way 317).

Saturday – He Became Poor

In today's Gospel Acclamation, we proclaim, “Jesus Christ became poor although He was rich, so that by His poverty you might become rich.” 

Jesus emptied Himself when He became incarnate. He was still completely God, but now He was also completely man, like us in everything except sin. He assumed a human body, a human soul, and a human will. He learned what it was like to be tired and hungry and sad. He experienced rejection and scorn. He laughed, and He wept. He became poor; He didn't even have a place to call home. Finally, He suffered and died on the cross in the most abject misery. And He did it all for us. 

He did it so that we might be might become in God's grace, rich in the treasures of Heaven. He did it so that we might receive forgiveness for our sins. He did it so that sanctifying grace, the very presence of God, God's very divine life, might fill our souls. He did it so that we would have full access to the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love. He did it so that we could know more about our loving God. He did it so that we could live in the intimacy of the New Covenant family. He did it so that one day we can go home to Heaven to live with God face-to-face forever.

Jesus became poor for us. May we always be open to accepting and embracing the riches He showers upon us.

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