Fear, Friendship, and Fidelity
Twenty-Eighth Week of Year II Friday October 14, 2016
The Responsorial Psalm proclaims the foundation of our hope: “Happy the people the Lord has chosen to be his own”(Psalm 33).
Ephesians 1: 11-14 teaches us that we have “obtained an inheritance”; and that we have assurance of it because we were “marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit” as a “pledge of our inheritance.” The Holy Spirit is God’s “marker,” his IOU, in our hearts. We received this pledge when we “heard the word of truth, the good news of our salvation, and… believed in him.”
The foundation of our hope is the fact that we are chosen, destined to receive all that was set forth as God’s plan in yesterday’s reading. “Happy the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.”
This hope is an abiding gift of grace, of the presence of the Holy Spirit within us. It is the experience of the divine in us. But to be a fully human experience as well, it also has to be an abiding state of mind. To maintain and sustain that state of mind, our conscious hope, we need to sustain the experience that gave it to us: the experience of hearing ‘the word of truth, the good news” and believing in it.
In other words, to be faithful “stewards of God’s mysteries,” and “stewards of the manifold grace of God”1 we need to keep reading, reflecting and responding with faith to the word of God. These are the “three R’s” of Christian discipleship implied in Christian stewardship and required for Christian leadership.
We need to keep our hope alive and conscious. Why? Because the opposition of the “world,” of our society, our culture, will keep fear alive and conscious in us! If we, as faithful stewards of the reign of God, work for changes in family and social life, business and politics, we will inevitably be attacked.
That is why Jesus, in Luke 12: 1-7 said, not to “the crowd gathered by the thousands,” but to “his disciples,” “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that can do nothing more.” Mediocre Christians, Christians “by inertia,” have nothing to fear from friends or family, social group, co-workers or business associates2 — or from other members of the Church (the modern “Pharisee party”) whose religion consists only in defending “orthodoxy” and observing the rules. It is the “friends” of Jesus, who try to learn and live by his mind and heart, who need to “beware of the yeast of the Pharisees.”
11Corinthians 4:1-2; 1Peter 4:10. 2Micah 7: 1-7; Matthew 10: 34-36
Initiative: Be Christ’s steward. Focus on his promise and live in hope.