Immersed in Christ: September 3, 2020
Memorial of Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor
of the Church
also, Thursday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time
(Reflection is based on the scheduled ordinary time readings)
The Responsorial (Psalm 24) reminds us: “To the Lord belongs the earth and all that fills it.”
1Corinthians 3:18 points out that many of our working assumptions about our life in this world are delusions.
For example, we act as if we “owned” the property we live on. Legally we do. But who owned it ten million years ago? Who will own “my” property a million years after I am dead and forgotten?
In the eyes of God, how significant is our passing proprietorship over any little piece of the earth he has created?
The LORD looks down from heaven; he sees all humankind.
From where he sits enthroned he watches all the inhabitants of the earth.
City today was desert before and may be desert again in a few centuries. Where people speak English now may someday be home to others for whom English is nothing but an archeological mystery. What does it mean for us to speak of “our” property, “our” country?
It means that for the brief moment we have control of it, we are responsible for maintaining, using and developing it according to the permanent owner’s plans and purposes. We proclaim at Mass that we are stewards:
All things are of your making, all times and seasons obey your laws. But you chose to create us in your own image, setting us over the whole world in all its wonder. You made us the stewards of creation….
Paul says, “All things are yours, whether… the world or life or death or the present or the future — all belong to you” But this is “absurdity” unless we add as he did, “and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.”
In Luke 5:1-11 Jesus told Peter to do something professionally stupid. Jesus was not a fisherman. Peter was. But after Peter and his crew had spent a whole night fishing fruitlessly, Jesus came along and said, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”
Peter didn’t follow his professional experience. He said, “Master, we have been hard at it all night long and have caught nothing. But if you say so, I will lower the nets.” And we know the rest.
What we may not know, or be thinking of, is that Jesus says the same thing to us. He wants us to do the impossible: reform society, transform the world, establish the reign of God’s love, peace and justice on earth. We might object, “We have been trying to do that for two thousand years with minimal results.” His answer is, “Put out into deep water.” Stop living, thinking and teaching a shallow Christianity. Go into the “deep water” of the real mystery of our Baptism. Be Christ — not a “follower” of Jesus but his own risen, living, active body on earth.
Be real disciples, dedicated “students” of his mind and heart. And prophets bearing witness through our lifestyle. And priests who minister to everyone we deal with. And leaders working for change as stewards of his kingship.
Then have confidence. “To the Lord belongs the earth and all that fills it.”
Initiative: Be a steward. Trust in God’s promise, not in your experience.