Living the Gospel – October 6, 2019

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Since last December (1st Sunday of Advent) we’ve been reading from the Gospel according to St. Luke. Have you noticed, especially recently, how often Jesus’ parables involve servants or slaves? It took hundreds of years for society and then the Church to realize and accept what an indignity to humanity slavery was.

But this reflection is not an article on slavery or even being a servant. It is about “commissioning.” It is about the fact that we, by our Baptism have been commissioned to serve in the field of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have been given the directive to become full fledged members of Christ’s Kingdom here on earth and to proclaim and spread that Kingdom everywhere!

A pretty big directive! It certainly is! How can we possibly accept and then carry out such a command?

As I read various resources it kept coming back to the old adage “Actions speak louder than words.” One book even said: “As respondents to many surveys tell us people may like who Jesus is and His teaching in the gospel, but the stumbling block for their joining us is the way they see that faith lived out in the Church.” (From Preaching to the Converted by Richard Leonard, SJ). God has given each of us the graces we need to do the job he wants us to do. In fact He dispenses them on a daily basis. We just need that faith, deep down faith that if we try to do His will the best we can, He will give us whatever grace we need. That faith only needs to be as big as a mustard seed but it needs to be deep. He will nurture it from the tiniest seed known in His time to that 10 foot tall bush if we let Him. What stands in our way of fully trusting in Jesus? I’m sure there are many, but those that first come to my mind: Lack of faith, lack of confidence, procrastination, fatigue and perhaps even sheer laziness and selfishness!

What kind of actions are we talking about? Let’s start with our vocation in life. When I was growing up if anyone mentioned “a vocation,” it automatically meant priesthood or religious life. But today, thank God, we have broadened it. “Voca”—calling. How is God calling us to spend the majority of our life? Now we certainly add marriage, parenthood and the single state. How do we serve in each of these vocations? And while getting a “thank you” or an “attaperson letter” is appreciated, I think knowing we’ve done the best we could to serve Our Lord satisfied us and takes some of the drudgery out of the mundane!

We step out of ourselves to serve our community. We serve our children’s schools, help with community affairs and organizations. Some serve as First Responders by profession or volunteer . We serve our Church as lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, altar servers, choir members, ushers and by performing those often underappreciated behind the seen duties of cleaning, caring for flowers, linens, and liturgical decorations.

All of it is service, much unacknowledged, although appreciated. All it takes is faith the size of a mustard seed to reach out and serve our brothers and sisters—to fulfill the commission given to us by Christ Himself.

Linda Caminiti