FRIDAY: Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Christianity, when embraced with the altruism and gallantry of Christ is incredibly beautiful and spiritually enriching. We are birds of passage in this world. Like actors on stage, our acts are short-lived. We are like fading shadows. Here today, gone tomorrow. Seventy or eighty for those who are strong (Ps.90:10). We were born with nothing. We will depart empty-handed (Sir.5:15). Clutching and collecting tinsels like magpies make life worrisome, wearisome, burdensome and restrictive in our efforts to devote time as stewards of the Lord’s vineyard.
Our baptism includes a rite of exorcism, which frees us from the lure of the devil and his obstructive powers to overwhelm us with his works, payments and material promises. The whole idea of this rite is to free the human soul from the slavery of sin and temptation and to empower the baptised to make informed choices to live unhindered lives for the sake of the kingdom and the glory of God. The same applies to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It frees the soul and conscience from the burden of guilt and sin and gives the soul and conscience freedom to serve the Lord in holiness and righteousness unfettered by the events or distractions of the past to become a coheir with Christ.
The stewardship of Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna and the several other women mention in Luke 8:1-3 is a perfect reflection of the quality of life and stewardship we can live in the vineyard of the Lord. Christ both exorcised Mary Magdalene and absolved her from her sins. Along with her other companions, they all embraced the selflessness of Christ in the service of the kingdom of God.
This is the type and quality of spiritual life Paul is alluding to in 1 Timothy 6:2-12. Paul’s appeal to Timothy is still applicable to Christians today. The gospel of prosperity has transformed religion into a marketplace. The emphasis has shifted from grace to profits and the personal enrichment of a few at the top. Christ commissioned the twelve apostles to cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils. You received without charge give without charge (Matt.10:8-10). Christianity has strayed from this assignment. It is losing its focus to the demands of personal enrichment and quick profits. Sadly, the gullible believe that the heftier the sum paid to solve their problems, the faster will their misfortunes fade away. This I believe is purely superficial and artificial Christianity. Let us avoid it. Stay faithful to the Word of God.
The Liturgy of the Word today calls us all to a new level of Christian consciousness and stewardship. Our call is to imitate the self-sacrificing nature of Christ who has set us free and made us a kingdom of priests and kings to serve our God in complete selflessness and love.
Here I am, Lord, use me as you will.