1 Timothy 6:2c-12Ps 49:6-10, 17-20Luke 8:1-3www.usccb.org/bible/readings/092217.cfm
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:ccc.usccb.org/cccradio/NABPodcasts/17_09_22.mp3
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.
Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another,
preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God.
Accompanying him were the Twelve
and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities,
Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,
Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza,
Susanna, and many others
who provided for them out of their resources.
Good News Reflection:
Do you have, as today’s first reading puts it, “religion with contentment”? Or are you dissatisfied with any of your religious experiences? Certainly there are reasons for discontent. There’s always room for improvement in how the experience of Mass is provided or in how the parish offers or fails to offer a particular ministry you need or in how the clergy and/or staff treat you.
It’s okay to be dissatisfied! Wrong-doings that we witness should make us so uncomfortable that we can’t ignore them; our discontent should stir us into action. We are being called to bring God’s kingdom into the situation.
Feeling uncomfortable with what’s wrong is very good. Feeling discontented with what’s right is quite a different matter. The difference is pointed out by St. Paul. Some people use religion as a means of gain because they are not content with what God has already given them. For example, in the Church there are people who get into leadership roles in order to benefit themselves more than to serve others. Envy, rivalry, insults, and evil suspicions are typical results.
The same is true in our personal lives. If it seems like we’re missing something, if there’s something we long for but do not have, and if we don’t turn to God to fill the void, we become driven by our unmet needs. We become self-centered and conceited. We hurt those who have what we lack, jealous of them, cutting them down because we feel inferior. We become greedy to satisfy our selfish desires.
Corruption in one’s thoughts — and therefore in behaviors — develops when one is deprived of the truth. The truth is: Religion with contentment is a great gain. So how do we gain contentment?
It starts with keeping our eyes on Jesus. Is he the center of our lives? Do we remain centered on him? Or have we shoved him into a magic genie lamp, rubbing him the right way only when we want to get something out of him?
What are we longing for when we feel discontent? God is our provider, but it’s a partnership. If he’s placed a desire in our heart, then he will satisfy our longing when we cooperate with his plans. The timing must remain in his control, the method of achieving the goal must be morally right, and the path to reach the object of our longing must increase our holiness during the journey.
Feel sorry for those who are envious, insulting, and overly suspicious, because these behaviors are signs that they have not let themselves gain enough of God’s love. What a miserable, lonely, unhappy way to exist! We can help them by showing them our Christ-centered compassion, patience, and joy. Yes, our joy will make them even more envious, and yes this might initially cause their corrupted hearts to respond to us unlovingly, but when we persist in turning to God for the love we need, we will have the endurance to continue giving them the love they need.
When we do that, our discontentment dissolves in God’s abundant love. We are content, not because of what others do or don’t do, but because of what God has done and is doing and will do.
Thank You Lord, because You take me with You while You heal and deliver me on the way. I praise and bless You, because in You we all walk together as a Church. Amen.
© 2017 by Terry A. Modica