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Proactive for Christ
Friday of the Thirty-First Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward who was reported to him for squandering his property. He summoned him and said, ‘What is this I hear about you? Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward.’ The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do, now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me? I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg. I know what I shall do so that, when I am removed from the stewardship, they may welcome me into their homes.’ He called in his master’s debtors one by one. To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note. Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’ Then to another he said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘One hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note; write one for eighty.’ And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently. For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than the children of light.”
Opening Prayer: Dear Lord, I come before you asking to grow in faith, hope, and love. Grant me the grace to know and love you just a little more today. May I listen to your words attentively so that I can respond with deliberate obedience. Lord, I trust that you will give me what I need to fulfill your holy will.
- “The Children of This World Are More Prudent”: We note a tinge of sadness in Our Lord’s comment, “For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than the children of light.’’ In other words, people strive more intensely for the things of this world than his followers do in pursuit of the kingdom of God. The children of the world engage their intellect, will, and imagination to gain wealth, popularity, power, and comfort. They know what they want and they pursue it. While the object they pursue is ephemeral, the intensity with which they pursue it is admirable. Our Lord wants to see his followers live with that same intensity. In the Book of Revelation he says, “I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16).
- Want the Kingdom of God: As Christians, we believe in the primacy of grace; therefore, we must principally rely on prayer and the sacraments to help establish God’s kingdom in our hearts and in the world. However, it is a frequent temptation to equate confidence in grace with indolence. St. James writes, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?… Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works” (James 2:14,18). Activism is relying too much on our work without grace. Our faith should spur us to action. To be obedient to God is to do what he asks, to take action. This does not preclude that at times we must wait; however, eventually we must act. Docility to God’s will and passivity are not the same thing; a race horse can be docile to the jockey running at full speed.
- Creativity Born of Desire: The church and the world need Christians proactively seeking to serve where need is greatest. The saints have been eloquent models of such initiative. St. John Bosco saw the displaced boys in the streets due to the industrial revolution, so he started an orphanage and trade schools. Dr. Moscati served his community as a medical doctor and researcher. St. Katharine Drexel saw the struggles of African-Americans and Native Americans, so she founded schools for them. St. Teresa of Calcutta saw the homeless dying unloved in the streets, so she created homes for the dying. The Holy Spirit speaks to us through prayer and Scripture, but also through our talents and the needs around us. We must prayerfully discern to see where and how God is asking us to serve.
Conversing with Christ: Dear Lord Jesus, you have created me to know, love, and serve you. You have given me the skills, experiences, and opportunities to serve. Open my eyes and heart to discover those souls whom you choose to touch through me, whether it be through corporal or spiritual works of mercy—or both. May I one day, after a lifetime of service, hear you tell me “Well done, my good and faithful servant…Come, share your master’s joy” (Matthew 25:21).
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will take some time today to reflect prayerfully on my mission to serve. Am I serving where I ought? Should I keep the course or make some changes? What are some of the unmet needs I see around me where I might be useful?
For Further Reflection: You might read this article on the life of St. John Bosco as an example of someone seeking to serve where needed: https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=63.
Written by Fr. John Bullock, LC.