“Pick My Burden Up”—With Joy
Twenty-Ninth Week of Year II Wednesday October 19, 2016
The Responsorial Psalm promises us: “You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation” (Isaiah 12: 2-6).
In Ephesians 3: 2-12 Paul identifies his mission as “the mystery of Christ:”
unknown in former generations to anyone born of woman, but now revealed by the Spirit to the holy apostles and prophets.
It is no less than this, that in Christ the Gentiles are now co-heirs, co-members of the same body, and co- sharers [Pauline words] in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
Paul knows this mystery is more than the inclusion of the Gentiles in the People of God. He sees it as the breaking-down of all barriers that divide human beings into separate camps: “There is no longer Jew or Greek…slave or free, … male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. “1 It is the same “plan for the fullness of time” that Paul keeps proclaiming: to “bring everything in the heavens and on earth together under Christ as head.”2 He exulted in it: “You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.”
Paul is overwhelmed by the greatness of his mission:
To me, the least of all believers, was given the grace to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things.
He saw this both as his glory and as a serious obligation: “for an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel!"3
This same obligation — and glorious privilege — is ours also. We were all chosen, committed and consecrated, just as truly as Paul was, to be “prophets, priests and stewards of the kingship of Christ.” Paul’s mission is our mission, because Christ’s mission is our mission. We have “become Christ” through Baptism. The way we fulfill the mission is unique to each one of us, because it depends on our unique gifts, talents and situation in life. But only the how is different; there is no question about what we have to do.
Or when. In Luke 12: 39-48 Jesus teaches that we have to be intent on his business all the time. “Who is that faithful, farsighted steward whom the master will set over his servants…?” It is the one whom “the master finds alert when he comes.”
Jesus “comes” to us through inspirations, insights, enlightenment and encouragement. Through feelings of “consolation” and “desolation” he guides us down the furrow he wants us to plow. Fidelity calls for constant discernment, attentive to his voice.
2Ephesians 1:10; see yesterday (alternate translation) and last Saturday.