A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Gird your loins and light your lamps
and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding,
ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.
Blessed are those servants
whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.
Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself,
have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.
And should he come in the second or third watch
and find them prepared in this way,
blessed are those servants.”
Good News Reflection: Living as citizens of the kingdom of God
You know the old saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” We could extend that to: “While living in the world, do as the worldly people do.” But God says, “You’re a citizen of MY kingdom now, so do as the Saints do. Do as Jesus wants to do — as his hands and voice — in every worldly place that you visit.”
That’s what St. Paul reminds us about in today’s first reading. Think of what happens when you visit old friends or family who live in sinful or unhealthy lifestyles, or when you spend hours each day working side by side with worldly people. Maybe you were just like them before deciding to become more like Christ.
Now that you’ve journeyed through spiritual conversion and emotional healing, how easy is it to revert back to worldly and unhealthy ways when you’re around them? Do you allow yourself to be infected by their attitudes and bad habits (foul language, for example, or gossiping and bad-mouthing others)? Or do you behave like the Saints, your new friends?
Sometimes, we think we have to blend in so that we’ll be accepted or to make the visit peaceful or to avoid trouble in the workplace. But, as Paul points out, Jesus is the only true source of peace.
There’s a wall of enmity that divides us from those who don’t know Jesus or don’t know him well enough to behave like him, and the only way to break it down is “through his Flesh.” How is that done? Guess what! We are his Flesh whenever we do what Jesus would do. When we unite ourselves to Christ’s Body and Blood in the Eucharist, we become Eucharist for the world. At the end of every Mass, we’re sent out with a blessing that empowers us to be Jesus for others.
Therefore, we can do and must do what Jesus would do whenever we interact with the world, loving everyone no matter how they treat us, forgiving them no matter how often they sin, being patient and kind, reaching out to offer healing when they seek it, standing up for the downtrodden, explaining the truth when people are willing to learn it, and so on.
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus says we should be constantly ready for our Master. When he knocks, will he find us awake and ready to spring into action, girding ourselves for running to wherever he sends us? Will our lamps be brightly lit so that the world can see who we are and Who is in us? Or will we miss his knock because we’re distracted by the noise of the world?
In every moment, we are either joined to Christ or we’re disappearing into the darkness of the worldly behavior around us. God says, “You’re a citizen of MY kingdom now, so do as the Saints do. Do as Jesus does. All the time!”
Lord, forgive me, because my words towards others have not always been words of hope and encouragement. Give me the grace of looking at problems through Your eyes. Amen.
© 2018 by Terry A. Modica