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  • Writer's pictureImmersed in Christ

Live Fish Swim Upstream, Dead Fish Float Downstream

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

by Fr. David M. Knight

View readings for Wednesday, 29th Week of Ordinary Time:

Lectionary no. 475 (Rom 6: 12-18; Ps 124: 1-3, 4-6, 7-8; Lk 12: 39-48)

We might re-phrase the Responsorial Psalm: “Our help is in acting in the name of the Lord” (Psalm 124).

Romans 6: 12-18 tells us there is no neutral ground between serving God or serving sin. We have to positively take sides and work for one or the other. “Do not present the parts of your bodies to sin as weapons for wickedness but present yourselves to God as raised from the dead to life and the parts of your bodies to God as weapons for righteousness.”

We have grown up with sayings urging us to be pro-active: “The best defense is a good offense; an idle mind is the devil’s workshop; live fish swim upstream, dead fish float downstream; nothing is needed for the triumph of evil but for good people to do nothing.” In the spiritual life, the best way to avoid being enslaved by sin is to enlist positively in the service of the Lord. If we are always looking for opportunities to further the reign of Christ over all the activities and areas of life we are engaged in, we will be much less vulnerable to being invaded and tempted by sinful ideas and desires. Our forward momentum will protect us. “Our help is in [acting in] the name of the Lord.”

Luke 12: 39-48 teaches us to expect the intervention of God in our lives at any moment. God is constantly inspiring us to notice what is right or wrong, harmful or beneficial, life-enhancing or life-diminishing to people in every situation in which we find ourselves. We are his stewards, always vigilant, always responsible for what will promote or prevent the fulfillment of his desires wherever we are.

Our natural tendency is to “fall asleep at the switch”; to get preoccupied with other things, or just to let our minds drift, so that when Jesus wants us to do something we just don’t notice. If we knew when he was going to inspire us, we would be listening for his voice. But he comes to us often “at an hour we do not expect,” needing us to take unexpected action in unlikely circumstances. If we are not alert and ready we will miss the opportunity. “You must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

We need to foster in ourselves a constant, ongoing attitude of responsibility for everything and everyone around us. Jesus wants us, as “faithful and prudent managers,” to take care of his people — all the time. “Blessed is the servant whom the master on arrival finds doing so.” “Our help is in [acting in] the name of the Lord.”

Action: Be Christ’s steward. Be always alert for chances to serve him.

Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry

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