Christian, Recognize Your Dignity!

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Thursday of the Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time

Memorial of St. Monica

Matthew 24:42-51

Jesus said to his disciples: “Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come. Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so. Amen, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is long delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eat and drink with drunkards, the servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”

Opening Prayer: My Lord, I stand before you as someone who has many needs. You remind me today that you are more than happy to help me out with all of my struggles. Strengthen my trust, so that I can allow you to lighten my burden. 

Encountering Christ:

  1. The Big Picture: This is certainly one of those Gospels that keeps me on my toes. Even though I wish I wouldn’t need constant reminders, real experience shows that spiritual and moral life needs renewal daily, even sometimes hourly. Today Jesus urges us to consider the big picture as a way of motivation and renewal: “Remember where all this is going, live with one eye focused on the eternal things, stay attuned to the Holy Spirit who will grant you a supernatural lookout on things.”
  2. The Orientation of the Heart: When Jesus steps into our lives and shakes us, gently but decisively, it’s as if to say, “Remember your dreams, remember your heart’s deepest desires, remember what I have done for you.” He never grows tired of reorienting us, as we frequently get sidetracked. Simple distractions can hinder our spiritual journey more subtly than can the “direct” sins, which is why the orientation of our heart can be a good point to examine in our conscience frequently.
  3. Jesus Will Come: Jesus will come, and before long we will stand in front of him. May it be a moment of passionate joy! He will speak and all our doubts will be whisked away. The one encounter that surpasses all the others, that encounter for which we prepare during this life will come

Conversing with Christ: My Lord, Thy Kingdom Come! I really can’t wait to be with you. You have given us so many ways in the Church to encounter you while awaiting the ultimate encounter. Renew my faith in the Sacraments, and renew my faith that you are present in Scripture and in my neighbors. Above all, Lord, grant me the grace of being a “faithful and prudent servant.”

Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will remember and renew my desire to live in you, with you, and for you.

For Further Reflection: Catechism of the Catholic Church 1691, 1693, 1696: “Christian, recognize your dignity and, now that you share in God’s own nature, do not return to your former base condition by sinning. Remember who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Never forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of the Kingdom of God.” Christ Jesus always did what was pleasing to the Father, and always lived in perfect communion with him. Likewise Christ’s disciples are invited to live in the sight of the Father “who sees in secret,” in order to become “perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” The way of Christ “leads to life”; a contrary way “leads to destruction.” The Gospel parable of the two ways remains ever present in the catechesis of the Church; it shows the importance of moral decisions for our salvation: “There are two ways, the one of life, the other of death; but between the two, there is a great difference.”

Written by Father Gabriel von Wendt, LC.

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