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(Part 16)


November 13, 2012

Today’s readings:
Titus 2:1-14
Ps 37:3-4,18,23,27,29
Luke 17:7-10

The New Evangelization is critical for the life of the world today. It will require workers who are willing to give their all to the cause. From Jesus’ teaching in the gospel today, we look at 3 traits that will be crucial for Catholics called to participate in this work. These traits are what are expected of true servants. They constitute a very difficult and challenging call.

First is total subservience to Jesus. Jesus says, “Who among you would say to your servant who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘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. You may eat and drink when I am finished’?” (Lk 17:7-8).

We are slaves of Jesus, who redeemed us from slavery to sin by the price of his precious blood. We belong to him. As slaves we have no rights. We exist to serve our Master. Our life totally belongs to Jesus, to do with as he pleases. We never look to our own agenda, preference, priority or plans.

“Slaves are to be under the control of their masters in all respects, giving them satisfaction, not talking back to them” (Ti 2:9). We must be intent on only pleasing God. We do not question God’s ways for us, including bringing us along the path of pain and suffering.

Second is complete self-denial. Jesus says, “Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?” (Lk 17:9).

Since we are slaves, then there is no place to look to our own physical or material well-being. We are to give our all, holding nothing back. Our time, energy, gifts and resources are to be at the disposal of the Master. We simply obey what we are commanded to do. We do not look to gratitude, reward, recognition, power, position or any sort of earthly reward. We even rejoice in affliction.

“Slaves are to be under the control of their masters in all respects, .... not .... stealing from them” (Ti 2:9a,10a). We do not deprive God of anything He has entrusted to us--our time, talent, treasure. We do not shortchange God on His “investment” in us, knowing that God has made Himself dependent upon us for His work on earth.

Third is utmost humility. Jesus says, “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.’” (Lk 17:10).

Whatever we are able to do is not because of our abilities, but totally a product of God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit. In fact, we are often the obstacles to God’s work. The Spirit works in spite of us. There can never be room for sinful pride, even as God uses us as effective instruments to do great works in the name of Jesus.

“Slaves are to be under the control of their masters in all respects, .... exhibiting complete good faith, so as to adorn the doctrine of God our savior in every way.” (Ti 2:9a,10b). We put our complete and unwavering faith in Jesus. We BE.LI.EV.E.

When we abandon ourselves in this way to God, then we are in the best of hands. The Father knows what is best for us. “Trust in the Lord and do good that you may dwell in the land and live secure.” (Ps 37:3). We all look for peace, security, happiness. We cannot find these on our own. We cannot fully experience these even when we are with God, if we still insist on directing our own lives. We can only have the fullness of peace and joy when we allow God to totally take over our lives.

We are fortunate that we have Jesus as our Lord and Master. With him we can never go wrong. “Find your delight in the Lord who will give you your heart’s desire.” (Ps 37:4).

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