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  • Writer's pictureImmersed in Christ

Immersed in Christ: September 17, 2020

Thursday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

The Responsorial (Psalm 118) reminds us to be grateful: “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good.

In 1Corinthians 15:1-11 Paul reminds us to be grateful for the legacy of faith, hope and love handed down to us by faithful stewards in the Church since the time of Christ. This legacy is entrusted to our stewardship now, to be preserved intact and handed on to others. “You are being saved by it at this very moment if you retain it as I preached it to you.”

But just “keeping” the faith is not enough. The “unfaithful steward” is the one who went off and buried his “one talent” in the ground. The master said to him, “You ought to have invested my money….” We who have received the gift of faith need to reflect on it as disciples, live a lifestyle that bears witness to it as prophets, give expression to it in loving ministry as priests by Baptism, and embody it in the structures and customs of our society as stewards of the kingship of Christ. 1

We are piercingly aware of this need today when so many parishes and families have been unable to pass on their faith to the next generation. This is not written as criticism but as call. Something isn’t working. Something has to change in personal, parish and family life. It is up to us, all of us: laity, clergy and bishops, to make those changes happen. If we are not trying to do that; if we are not even asking what changes need to be made, we are burying our heads, and perhaps our faith as well, in the ground. There is no point in beating our breasts over the past. The past is over. When the women sought Jesus in the tomb, the angel said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here…. Go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.”” We don’t find Jesus in the dead works of our past; we find him out in front of us, calling us to action. 2

Luke 7:36-50 gives us guidance for restoring faith, hope and love in the Church: begin with the person of Jesus. The woman “known in the town to be a sinner” did not change because she was converted “away from sin” or won to a “better way of life.” She was converted by Jesus and to Jesus. In washing his feet with tears and anointing them with oil, she was embracing the person of Jesus, and because of him, everything he taught, lived and desired. We can preach “against” anything from abortion to atomic warfare; we can urge people to “do” anything from adoration of the Blessed Sacrament to social activism. But if don’t know Jesus, do not love him passionately, and do not present him first and foremost to others as the heart, soul and substance of our religion, we are taking the “one talent” that is absolutely essential, and burying it in the ground. This is what the great apostle Paul preached. His “Good News” was the “proclamation of Jesus Christ.” The “stewardship” (oikonomian) entrusted to him was “to make known… the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Jesus is the key to renewal of the Church and of the world.3

Initiative: Be a steward of the mystery of Christ. Be known as a “Christ-ian”

1 Matthew 25:14-30. 2 Luke 24:1-5; Matthew 28:1-7. 3 Romans 16:25; Colossians 1:24-28, 2;2, 4:3.

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