Saturday, Week Nine
Tobit 12:1, 5-15, 20; Responsorial: Tobit 13; Mark 12:38-44
A king’s secret it is prudent to keep, but the works of God are to be declared and made known. Praise
them with due honor.
Jesus said a poor widow put more into the collection for the temple than anyone else, because she “contributed all she had.” Can we say this about ministry? Do those who do all they can minister more than anyone else? Do we measure the value of ministry more by how much one accomplishes, or by how much one gives of one’s self?
I know, I know: we should not measure at all. But one of the greatest problems in ministry is discouragement; especially when we don’t see results. Then it is important to measure ourselves, not by what we do, but by which we try to do. Is it better to succeed with a few while trying to bring them into deep knowledge and love of God, or to succeed with many by trying only to maintain them at a high-level of mediocrity?
This is a very real and current pastoral problem. Should the members of a parish reward their ministers, both the clergy and the lay ministers, for not rocking the boat; or should they beg them to raise challenging questions, encourage thought-provoking corrections to passively accepted teachings, and to hold up relevant ways of living the ideals of the Sermon on the Mount as the only authentically Christian way to live?
What did Jesus do?
Pope Francis gave his opinion about this in his Santa Maria homily May 23, 2017:
The Church of Jesus is like this… They were branded as communists and persecuted. Think of the Blessed Oscar Romero. What happened to him for having told the truth? And so many others in the history of the Church, even here in Europe. Why? Because the evil spirit prefers a tranquil, risk-free Church, a business-like Church, a comfortable and lukewarm Church.
The evil one always starts from the pocket. When the Church is lukewarm, quiet, organized, when there are no problems, look to where business is to be done.
This is the path of our daily conversion: to pass from a mundane state of life, tranquil, without risks—Catholic, yes, yes, but lukewarm—to embrace instead a state of life that is a true announcement of Christ, to experience the joy of Christ's Good News. To move from a religiosity that looks too much on earnings, to faith and to the proclamation that Jesus is the Lord.
A Church without martyrs breeds distrust. A Church that doesn’t take risks breeds distrust. A Church that is afraid of proclaiming Jesus Christ and of chasing out demons, idols and the lord of money is not Christ’s Church. Let us ask the Lord for the grace for renewed vigor in faith and for conversion from a lukewarm way of life so we are able to make the joyful proclamation that Jesus is the Lord.
Meditation: Am I willing to settle for less in what I get from the clergy and lay ministers in my church? What do I do to incite them to more? What do I not do?