Today's readings can be found here.
A reflection will be posted later. Check back!
The focus of our lives must be loving our Lord, Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, and serving the Holy Trinity with the devotion of our lives poured out for God. Today's readings provide for us the focus that our Christian lives should have.
The first reading from the First Book of Kings details Elijah's call to Elisha, his attendant. When Elisha puts off Elijah, to handle the matters that he thinks must be done before following Elijah, he endangers his fulfillment of his vocation. (1 Kgs 19:20) In the same vein, from the Gospel from Saint Luke, we hear the colloquy between Jesus and an unnamed interlocutor:
Jesus cautions the man to whom He is speaking to not let the affairs of the world get in the way of God's work ("Let the dead bury their dead . . ."), but exhorts him to follow Him by going out to "proclaim the kingdom of God."And to another [Jesus] said, “Follow me.”But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
So in both the Old Testament and the Gospel readings we see the tension between serving God and fulfilling our worldly obligations. And, we hear from Christ's mouth that serving Him is to be our focus. But, that does not mean that we should neglect our worldly obligations either.
A mother that neglects to feed her infant because she is consumed in prayer, is not truly serving the Lord. Each of us has a vocation that the Lord brings to light in our lives. Some of us are parents, and some are not, some of us are married and some are not. In each of our vocations, though, and in whatever call to further vocations we receive in our lives, we must remain open to serving the Lord, and to focus our lives in that respect.
For parents, we must love and care for our children and teach them our Catholic faith, by our words and our actions. Daily prayer with our children, weekly (or more frequent) mass attendance, discussion of the saints and the teachings of our faith--these are all examples of service given to the Lord to fulfill a vocation of Christian parenthood.
Do all that you do out of love and in adoration of the Lord.
Lift up your daily life for the Lord, in whatever vocation that you have. Bless the Lord by serving Him! Focus on that.
This focus is needed because our free will leaves us open to sin. We have been given the great gift of free will, but in that we are capable of closing ourselves off from God. Our will can be exercised even to deny God's existence or simply to live as though God does not exist. That is why, in today's second reading, we hear these words of Saint Paul:
For freedom Christ set us free . . . [b]ut do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh . . . live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh. For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want.So, we see that the "flesh"--the world--is not in-line with the Spirit, and, indeed, has not been since the time of Christ and His Apostles. Today's struggles of the faith against a faithless world is not new. That is why we must focus on serving the Lord. Only in serving God and following His commands do we live the freedom of our lives as we are destined to do by the Father and have been redeemed by the Son. Faithlessness, denial of God, living as though God does not exist, putting the Lord off to another day--all of these things keep us enslaved to the sin of selfishness. We are to focus on serving the Lord; serving ourselves entraps us in sin and death and rejects the freedom that Christ has won for us.
So, I pray that all of us will live in the Spirit--live in the freedom of Christ--serving our Lord and one another as Christ Jesus taught us; and those who are enslaved to sin and world will, by the grace of God the Holy Spirit, experience a true conversion of life. And, I pray that each of us will experience that same conversion to Christ each and every day--continually turning ourselves to Christ and recommitting to live in the freedom of the Spirit that has been so generously poured out upon us.