One For All, All For All
Twenty-Fifth Week of Year II Monday, September 19, 2016
(Begin reading Proverbs)
The Responsorial Psalm establishes a basic principle for forming a good society: “Those who do justice shall live on the Lord’s holy mountain” (Ps. 15).
Proverbs 3: 27-34 gives some examples of how to “do justice” in dealing with others: help when you can, don’t pick fights, never use violence. But the point of the passage is that doing evil brings down evil, not only on us, but on our “house” and “home,” and on our society as a whole: “The Lord’s curse lies on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the virtuous.”
It is not that God literally “curses” or punishes a family or society for one person’s sins. The insight here is that human beings live in such relationship with one another that everything one does affects everyone else, for good or for evil. Like mountain climbers roped together on an icy slope, the fall of one can drag down the others; and the failure of one to maintain fitness and vigilance is a danger and disloyalty to all.
On the other hand, if we do try to live in loyal fidelity to God, we are also being faithful to our covenant with others. A “purely personal” religion is as much a contradiction in terms as a “purely personal” patriotism. The truth is, every sin is a crime against society, and every crime against society is a sin against God. “Those who do justice shall live on the Lord’s holy mountain” in the “unity and peace” of God’s kingdom. So the first concern of a faithful steward of Christ’s kingship must be to live a virtuous life. Only the just can promote social justice authentically.
Luke 8: 16-18 basically tells us God doesn’t give people graces just for themselves. If we seek “enlightenment” without the willingness to enlighten others, we will not receive it from God. Or if we do, we will be guided to share it with others. Jesus says that anyone who lights a lamp “puts it on a lampstand so that people may see the light when they come in.” That is why Jesus said, not just “I am the light of the world,” but to his disciples, “You are the light of the world.” We are stewards of the light we receive, charged to use it to light the world’s path to the “unity and peace” of a society under the reign of God.
Jesus repeats the rule of stewardship: those who are “trustworthy in a few things [will be put] in charge of many things.” “So take care how you listen,” he warns, because “more will be given” only “to those who have.” Jesus invests in those who listen, learn and share as stewards of the light.
Initiative: Be Christ’s steward: Seek light to be light for the world.