The Single Pearl
Thirtieth Week of Year II Saturday October 29, 2016
The Responsorial Psalm describes the culmination of growth in grace: we live and long purely for God. We are focused on the “end time” and the “wedding banquet of the Lamb.” “My soul is thirsting for the living God” (Psalm 42; see Revelation 19:9).
In Philippians 1: 18-26 Paul is talking about the spirit of stewardship brought to perfection: “All that matters is that… Christ is being proclaimed.” As stewards of the kingship of Christ we detach our hearts from all we have and are: our possessions, skills, talents and energies; our health and time on this earth; even our deepest relationships. In response to Jesus’ invitation to “sell all” and to “lose our lives to find them,” we give everything we have to God and spend the rest of our lives managing it all as his property. We make the prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola our own:
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will — all that I have and possess. You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. All is yours. Dispose of it wholly according to your will. Give me your love and your grace. That is enough for me.1
Henceforth we have only the one desire Paul expressed; that “Christ will be exalted through me, whether I live or die.” For us, as for Paul, “living is Christ and dying is gain…. it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.” 2
This is stewardship nourished by a vivid and real anticipation of the “wedding banquet of the Lamb.”
I firmly trust and anticipate that I shall never be put to shame for my hopes. I have full confidence now that Christ will be exalted through me.
This is what Paul lived for. It was his motivation and his passion: “My soul is thirsting for the living God.”
In Luke 14: 1-11, as elsewhere, Jesus speaks of heaven as a wedding banquet3 at which “all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” As stewards of his kingship we don’t desire or expect honor on this earth, or focus on having it in heaven. All we desire is that “the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in us….”
Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received..., so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen. 4
This is abandonment of all, motivated by anticipation of the All. It is the essence of stewardship. “My soul is thirsting for the living God.”
1 Matthew 10:37; 16:25; 19:21, 29; Luke 14:26; The Spiritual Exercises, no. 234.
3Matthew 22:2; 25:10; Luke 12:36; 14:8
42Thessalonians 1:12; 1Peter 4: 10-11.
Initiative: Be Christ’s steward. Abandon everything in anticipation.