Immersed in Christ: September 4, 2020
Friday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time
The Responsorial (Psalm 37) gives focus: “The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.”
In 1Corinthians 4:1-5 Paul tells us that we should think of him and of ourselves as “servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries.” Is that the thought we all wake up with in the morning?
Servants, maybe. But “stewards” — what is that?
A steward is by definition the one who is responsible. That is why Paul continues: “The first thing required of stewards is that they prove trustworthy.” Worthy of trust. Because trust has been placed in them.
What trust has God placed in us? To take responsibility for what? Paul has said it: we are “stewards of God’s mysteries.” We are responsible for “managing” the “mysteries” revealed and entrusted to us as Christians. What does that mean?
It means, first, that we preserve them. Paul summed up his life: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” That is not a small accomplishment, especially in our day when so many have ceased to gather or “assemble” with us for Eucharist.
But just to “keep” the faith is not enough, as Jesus has made penetratingly clear. We have to do something with the grace and gifts entrusted to us. Grow them, develop them, use them for others. If not, we are “worthless servants” and unfaithful stewards.
The Responsorial Psalm tells us: “The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.” True. But it is nurtured and extended to others by those consecrated in Baptism to be “stewards of his kingship.” When “the Lord comes,” he will judge how trustworthy we have been. Paul did not presume to judge himself, but he did share with Timothy his confidence that “there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” If we can go to bed saying that, we are probably waking up as “faithful stewards” in the morning.
In Luke 5:3-39 Jesus defines himself as Bridegroom, the Church as his Bride, heaven as a wedding feast, religion as longing for union with him, and religious practices such as “fasting,” in its many forms, as an expression of that longing. The “new wine” that inebriates us at the wedding feast is grace, the divine life of God, for which we need to become a “new creation” by dying and rising with Jesus in Baptism. That is a summary of the “mysteries” entrusted to our stewardship. To be “faithful” we need to find our identity in them as Christians, ponder them as disciples until we understand them, make them visible them in our lifestyle as prophets, express them in ministry to others as priests, and as stewards the Kingdom restructure our society and culture to be in harmony with them.
Initiative: Be a steward. Manage what you know and know what you manage.