CAMPUS PADRE Offers food for thought
Readings: Amos 8:4-7; 1Timothy 2:1-8; Luke 16:1-13
Jesus also points out a deeper truth that should be learned from the parable of the Steward. Despite how it seems at first glance, Jesus isn’t praising the actions of the Steward, but he is drawing our attention to the use of his gifts. In using this story, Christ reminds us again, that all of our choices are either oriented to growing closer to God or becoming more distant.
We know that our lives will come to an end. The Christian life consists in an ongoing series of decisions in which we reinforce or undermine our basic choice to follow Christ. Yet we tend to live like there is no end of tomorrows; no consequences to our actions; no master who will call us to account for our stewardship of our lives and gifts, our Love of God and Neighbor.
Recognizing that Christ wants our hearts to be undivided, we also recognize that Christ wants our efforts to be empowered by the proper use of our gifts. Christ desires that we make use of every good gift with great skill. So, the point is a simple one. The steward knew he needed to do everything in his power to prepare for what was coming. Likewise, Christians should do the same. We should use ALL that God has given us to ensure our steadfast commitment and to do all we can in this life in order that we would find ourselves with God in the next. Imagine how different the Church (and the world) would be if every Catholic pursued holiness that energetically.
So, the question for us all is; who am I serving with what God has given me?
Readings Exodus 32:7-11,13-14; 1 Timothy 1:12-17; Luke 15:1-32
God’s love means we are never absent from God’s concern. God’s mercy means that God will always reach out to us even though we have removed God from our concerns. God’s forgiveness means that we can always come home, if we are willing to embrace ourselves as we are meant to be and God as God is.
We see that, although God’s love is unending, it is not without expectations, and in that sense, God’s love is not unconditional. We prefer God’s love, mercy and forgiveness to be unconditional; meaning we could say ‘sorry’, be told it’s all good, and then proceed to change nothing in who we are, how we think or what we do.
We need to stop expecting God to lower the standards. We need to stop demanding that God affirm us, no matter what. We need to be honest. If I’m with God then I’m for allowing God’s love to change me. If not, then go ahead, risk your life, do your own thing. If you survive long enough to come to your senses, God will still love you, be waiting for your return and ready to forgive… when you’re ready to change.
Readings Wisdom 9:13-18; Philemon 9b,12-17; Luke 14:25-33
Who is he really, for me? Why do I come to church? Why do I seek the sacraments for my children?
God the Father reminds us throughout the Hebrew testament and Jesus continues to remind us throughout the Gospels that being part of the covenant promise, being a child of God and a disciple of Christ, will be demanding. Each of us who has accepted the Way of Christ, who have come to know and understand the Truth of God and who desire Life in the Spirit, has to die with Christ in order to rise with him. In following Jesus, we have to go with him the whole way. We have to accept totally his way of seeing life and then put that into practice. Christ's exhortation to hate father and mother and brothers and sisters simply points out that a Christian can prefer nothing over Christ.
Jesus wants our lives to be lived with integrity and authenticity. If I would describe myself as a disciple of Christ, then my life cannot be determined and manipulated by the undisciplined and untransformed desires of the flesh. We are to live in total freedom, having put on the ‘mind of God’ and become men and women of virtue, wisdom and grace who are true images of God whose likeness is then reflected to the world in which we live.
It also means that any aspect of a person or anything that lessens that freedom to follow truth and love is to be “hated” and overcome. Faith that does not increasingly transform us over the course of our lives, is a faith with shallow roots and is easily destroyed by the winds of temptation that come before the storms that bring destruction and death. Jesus Christ is calling you and I to rise above lukewarmness and mediocrity and to pursue the greatness for which we were made and to which we are called. To follow Christ means to work hard building up his Kingdom and conquering our selfish, self-indulgent tendencies.
This life in Christ, as disciples, does not necessarily mean we must engage in world changing action on a grand scale, but it does mean that we must be engaged in changing the world through our faith in action; in word and deed; and the silence of prayer. The saints, with consistent and loud chorus, tell us that holiness is found in sanctifying our everyday actions, however small.
If we are not watchful, if we are not vigilant, if we are not intensely focused on the pursuit of holiness, we will fall away. No one coasts into heaven without intentional effort! Clothe yourselves in the armor of God and take up the weapons of prayer and penance, calling on the Holy Spirit to fan the flames of your faith into a white hot fire of love for God, neighbor and unyielding commitment to the fulfillment of your mission and vocation.
Peace doesn't just happen; it's made.
CampusPadre is a college ministry Priest Chaplain with 30 years experience in youth and young adult ministry, who strives to let the Holy Spirit lead and challenges students to seek holiness above all.