Immersed in Christ: November 4, 2020
Wednesday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
The Responsorial Psalm teaches us to focus: “The Lord is my light and my salvation” (Psalm 27).
In Philippians 2: 12-18 Paul reminds us, “It is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his benevolent purposes.” Any good we do or even desire, we do by the power of God working with us, in us and through us.
What do we have that is not God’s gift to us? Our bodies, our brains, our skills and the energy to use them, our very life is his gift. But this gift cannot be given once and for all; of necessity it is being given every moment. Otherwise we would just fall into non-existence.
This puts stewardship on a very radical basis: if all we have and are depends on God working right now within us, we are by nature not absolute owners, but managers. We have to use all the control we have over God’s working within us to direct his work and ours to the accomplishment of his purposes.
The same is true of our possessions. Each and every one of them is God’s gift to us. He created them, sustains them in existence, and is within each one of them, making each do for us what it does. In and through everything we have, God is giving us something of himself. God is the good we desire and enjoy in all.
So what is there to be surprised at if Paul says his death is of no concern to him and should not be to his friends?
Even if I am being poured out as a libation over the… offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you -- and in the same way you also must be glad and rejoice with me.
Paul lives only for the kingdom, and sees everything in the light of what will be when it is established:
As I look to the day of Christ, you give me cause to boast that I did not run the race in vain or work to no purpose.
This is salvation. If we try to “save” our lives by keeping them for ourselves, we live “in vain.” We lose them. If we abandon all to God and for God we find the All.1
In Luke 14: 25-33 Jesus says the life he gives is an “all for all” proposition. There is no “partial salvation.” We must seek, at least, to love God with all our heart or we don’t love him as God. This calls us to total abandonment. Any love for parents, spouse, children, or anything else is illusory — false and inauthentic — if it conflicts with total abandonment to God.
Jesus invites us as prudent stewards to “sit down and calculate” what we need to give for what we want to get. The cost of discipleship is to “give up all your possessions” and manage them for God as stewards.
Initiative: Be Christ’s steward. Manage prudently the gift of love.
1 Luke 9:24.