Saturday, August 3, 2013

Getting Close to the Fire. Getting close to the teachings of Christ.

In a few weeks we will be having our annual garage sale.  We’ve all been asked to perhaps offer some gently used things that we have been hoarding in our garages. I’ve wondered how our dear sisters and brothers in Guatemala, especially the communities that our mission serves would react to how much stuff we all accumulate and throw away. I’m sure some would ask “what is that, or what is it for”?, but I think many more would be scandalized at how much we accumulate based on how much we throw away.  I’m sure some of our foreign students might feel the same.  We are a people who do collect many things. I might even venture that some things we collect are not that necessary. But if we can have them, why not?   

Pope Francis has been very consistent in his message since elected to the papacy.  He has called all Catholics, especially we who are leaders in the Church to be aware of the poor in our midst.  But this is nothing new; the document of the second Vatican council; “Gaudium Et Spes”- “Constitution of the Church in the Modern World” states:  “The joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted, are the joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ”  Pope Francis cautions us to avoid greed and its consequences.  As does Jesus when he says in the gospel “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

This gospel is not about making money, nor even having things; but it is about worshipping anything else apart from God. Which we all can do sometimes without even knowing it. However a true disciple will know the difference. A good disciple is one who is not afraid to get close to the fire. Not afraid to not just know, but to live the teachings of Jesus. That is the difference between having many things with gratitude and a desire to offer in thanksgiving; and worshiping many things without a spirit of gratitude.  This is all too often a part of our lives as well.  We may all say we are Catholic Christians but have not been open to receive the grace that Christ offers, especially in the sacraments and in particular in the Eucharist. We can all receive the “character” of the sacrament, but not always the grace. And grace can only be received to the measure of one’s faith. A hungering for Christ and a desire to truly follow him is necessary for the reception of the grace.  In particular, the Eucharist should provide the graces necessary to be good stewards.  To imitate Christ in our own breaking and pouring our love for the other out of our love and desire for Him.  However without faith and desire, little grace can be received’ little repentance or conversion can occur.

Good stewards acknowledge that the money and possessions entrusted to them are to be used to further the mission of Jesus Christ. This week let us reflect on our own daily consumption habits. Do we spend money on articles that make us better ambassadors of Christ?  Does our personal lifestyle bring “good news to the poor”  If we can struggle to attain this goal, very few will go hungry, very few will be in need. And we will all be rich in Christ!


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