Nov 10, 2015

How much more?

Luke 17: 7-10

Jesus said to the Apostles: 
"Who among you would say to your servant
who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the 
'Come here immediately and take your place at table'?
Would he not rather say to him, 
'Prepare something for me to eat. 
Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink.
Your may eat and drink when I am finished'?
Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was 
So should it be with you.
When you have done all you have been commanded, say,
'We are unprofitable servants;
we have done what we were obliged to do.'" 

Where would we be if our founding fathers had said, "You know, this is not worth the fight.  It's a great idea, this new nation, but in the end, let's just stay with England." 

Or if Lewis and Clark, the great explorers of the northwest territories had stopped in Montana and said, "Too many mountains. We'll never make it; let's go back." 

Or if the Wright brothers had given up on their attempt to perfect human flight? "You know Orville, it's a crazy idea.  If God wanted man to fly he would have given us wings."   

Obviously, the world would be a very different place than it is today.  The point of this , in light of Tuesday's Gospel above, is that Jesus reminds us that just doing what is expected is not good enough.  His reference, we can take it, is to discipleship and by association our spiritual (interior) life.  If all we do is go to Mass, give to the Church, go through the motions, and be nice to people, what are we really accomplishing?  If we are called to be saints, to be a holy people, it means extending ourselves beyond the minimum:  "When you have done all you have been commanded, say, 'we are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do."  

Anyone who works in Church ministry, in a busy parish, knows well that we are often asked to go beyond our job descriptions.  As priest and pastor, as one priest once said, "You can be as busy or as lazy as you want to be."  If all I do is go through the motions, never extending myself or going an extra mile, where's the virtue?  The same is true for all of us.  

Jesus calls us to selfless sacrifice.  Remember the widow's mite last Sunday's Gospel (Mk 12: 38-44).  While we all have limitations, we all can do more than we may think.  Giving all to God and trusting in faith that all will be well if we trust in him, is our daily call.  

Our Lord's sacrifice on the cross is the ultimate example of God's care for us.  How do we show that gratitude in our life?