Immersed in Christ: September 18, 2020
Friday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
The Responsorial (Psalm 17) is a profession of hope: “Lord, when your glory appears my joy will be full.”
In 1Corinthians 15:12-20 Paul puts things pretty bluntly: “If our hopes in Christ are limited to this life only, we are the most pitiable of all people.” Would you say that? About yourself?
How much practical difference does the resurrection of Jesus make to you? Are most of your daily choices, and all of the important ones, influenced by the expectation that you are going to enjoy life after death?
By way of comparison: If you are married, does that make a difference to you on a daily basis? Are you aware of it every day? Are most of your choices, and all of the important ones, influenced by the fact that you are married?
How about your job: How much difference would it make to you if you didn’t have it? Are you aware of it every day? How many of your choices are influenced by the work you do? If you lost your job would you see yourself as “the most pitiable of all people?
Now ask how many of your choices are influenced by the fact that you are a Christian. And how many choices that you make as a Christian are determined by and depend on your belief that you are going to rise from the dead?
When we take Paul’s words — or any words of Scripture — seriously, they can raise challenging questions.
Luke 8:1-3 tells us what Jesus did on a daily basis. He “journeyed through towns and villages, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.” Matthew adds “and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.”1 Except for the cures it doesn’t sound all that exciting. But the twelve men he had chosen stayed with him, “as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities… and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.”
Why? What were they getting out of it? One of the twelve, Peter, said to Jesus, “Look, we have left our homes and followed you.” Jesus answered, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not get back very much more in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”2
If any of us left house or spouse or parents or children to work at establishing the Kingdom, then found out there was no life after death, we might agree that we were “the most pitiable of all people.” Because nothing in our life would make sense if “our hopes in Christ were limited to this life only.” We would be living totally for him.
The solution is to live totally for Jesus and the kingdom now, without physically leaving “house or spouse or children” but directing everything we do at home and at work toward establishing the reign of God on earth. This is stewardship.
Initiative: Be a steward. Give everything to God, then manage it for him.
1 Matthew 4:23, repeated verbatim in 9:35. 2 Luke 18:28-30.