MySpiritualAdvisor.com’s Mark Kurowski reflects on the 24/7 nature of being a Christian that gets in our way of doing what we want. What does David, St. Paul and your local church community have to do with any of this? Listen to this podcast of his reflection for the 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time. Please read John 6:24-35.
MySpiritualAdvisor.com, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 8/5/2012. The 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time.
Please pause this audio and read John 6:24-35.
We are called to be holy people who live a life of holiness, not a hobby of holiness. We are called to be in relationship with Jesus Christ all day, everyday. I only thank the Lord that he has grace upon me, a sinner, because I am unable to do it. But the Lord is kind and merciful, isn’t he?
To emphasize the importance of living out a Christian life, and not just believing the right things, the apostle St. Paul says,
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Paul says, “I beg of you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” What life does he tell us that we had better live to the endangerment of our souls? That life is to be the body of Christ here on earth. It is to dwell in peace with one another in a unity of faith that rejects false doctrine and clings to that which is true.
The Christian life is not selfish and childish, but is tried, tested and true. It is a mature life in the faith. It is a life that is not tied to selfish demands, but is thankful for what it receives from the Lord. It is a life where we use all of our individual vocations to further the growth of the body of Christ. Sounds wonderful doesn’t it?
But you know there is a little problem. That little problem is that we still sin. Jesus wiped away our guilt, but we still sin. We always have access to Confession, but we still sin. In all of our praying without ceasing, we still have a bent toward sin.
In 2 Samuel, chapters 11 and 12, we hear about King David who “had a heart for the Lord.” Here was the “Lord’s chosen.” Yet, even the Lord’s chosen is being confronted by Nathan the Lord’s prophet. David had just looked over the side of the wall of the palace and sees Bathsheba, a woman he does not know, in the public bath. David sees Bathsheba and seduces her and gets her pregnant. Besides breaking the commandment against adultery, he compounds the whole thing by tricking her righteous husband, Uriah, into faithfully delivering a message to the front of the army in the midst of battle where he is killed. After disposing of Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, David feels free to take for himself the other man’s wife as his own.
Talking about Uriah’s death, he says in Chapter 11 to Joab, the commander of the army, “Do not let this matter trouble you, for the sword devours now one and now another”. In other words, “Ah, such is the result of war.”
But you see, it is not a matter of war. If David had been faithful twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week, then he would not have lusted, coveted another man’s wife, committed adultery, stolen another man’s wife and had that man killed when it turns out she was carrying David’s child. Nathan comes to show David that his childish selfishness exceeds that of his gratitude toward what God had already given him. God had already given him much from what we see in these two chapters.
The Lord says to him through Nathan, “I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul; and I gave you your master’s house, and your master’s wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if this were too little, I would add to you as much more.” Here we have another act of mercy, even though David murdered, a sin punishable by death, the Lord spared him. Agreeably, the passage says that David’s child died because of his sin, but David himself did not die. Not only that, but David still had the promise of an eternal kingdom through his children.
Now there are days that I get up and I want to get to work fast. I don’t want to handle anyone’s item that they need for me to do to make their lives easier. I don’t want another “little” errand added by my wife to my already packed schedule. I don’t want to have a phone that will put me behind my schedule when I first get into the office.
I have days when I get in the car and I don’t want some control freak who has to drive five miles an hour below the speed limit in front of me. There are days on which, if any of those things happen, there is slight chance that I could just possibly get a little cranky.
Then, I come into the office and start my day by saying my prayers. Uh, oh. I am confronted with who I am. I am a Christian. I have been called to live a life “worthy of the calling to which I have been called.” What kind of life is it?
It is a life in which I met someone who knew and agreed that if we were married, it was forever. This means that I don’t want to blow it by getting mixed up in affairs that would cause me to lie and have to live a life of deception.
The Christian life is a life when I know that even if everyone should hate me, I have One who loves me. The Christian life is a life where I have a guide and Lord who gives me direction when I have no idea which way to go. He leads me in a paths that allow me to avoid most diseases, avoid most pitfalls in relationships and avoid making terrible mistakes that could cost me big time.
The passage from Ephesians today is very explicit about this. Earlier in chapter 1 of Ephesians we are told that even though we lived a sinful life, Christ died for us. Then we are told that we were saved so that we could do good works for God. So, even when we were sinful, Jesus died as an expression of God’s love for us. He died so that we could live the Christian life. We are to live that life together. That is a key to living the Christian life twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.
If I were to be alone in all of this, I would fail miserably. I used to meet in a men’s faith sharing group, we often remarked to each other how meeting together kept us on track. We hadn’t wanted to face those who we love in the Lord having done something to disgrace Christ the previous week.
St. Paul is trying to urge his church at Ephesus to work together to live the Christian life. He tells them they are to use their gifts to build each other up.
We are to look at each other as those who are part of us. If one of us gets hurt, we are all hurt. If one of us has a joy, we all have a joy. We work together to create more than a building. We work together to create an atmosphere where God is glorified in everything we do. David lost sight of that. He lost sight of the fact that election, or calling begets responsibility. We have a responsibility to move beyond what we want and to live out lives that God wants. We have a responsibility to each other. We want to live the kind of life that those who go to church with us will not be ashamed to say that they are part of us.
How we do it is by going to Mass weekly, tithing to God, praying and reading our Bibles daily, and serving together in ministry for Jesus Christ. Think about it, our Churches are great places, how much greater it would be if we would be actively trying to give to Jesus Christ in every act of the day, seven days a week! We are a blessing to each other now, but we would be blessing upon blessing.
Finally, in our Gospel Lesson for this 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time, we hear Jesus say this, “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” This life, the 24/7 Christian life, is the work which we should be inspired to live when we receive the heavenly food, the Eucharistic food that endures for eternal life. It is a food that calls us not only to share walking up the aisle to receive the Body of Christ from the priest and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, but also to share a life of love, kindness, gentleness and self-control. We ought to share a life of goodness and mercy toward others as we have influence on the structures of society.
It is a new Son of David who calls us to be more than just robots who receive the Sacraments or automotons who regurgitate all that we have been taught. We are to engage people and active love them where moral certitude is anything but certain. What is it that you are doing to live this holy life 24/7? Whatever you are doing to live this holy 24/7 Christian life, keep it up and reach even higher to please the Lord. You have a community of faith who is with you and a Lord who has done great things for us. Let us respond in kind. Amen? Amen.
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