TUESDAY HOMILY: Paper Crowns and Plastic Trophies
has made you well." There's another pointer to what real faith consists of--not only regular, humble, faithful service, but a heart full of gratitude.
The life of faith is therefore marked by faithful service and a heart that is so grateful that it serves out of love. This faithful service means that we serve without thought of reward. We're not serving the Lord to win a plastic trophy. We offer serve and make sacrifices simply out of a heart overflowing with love and gratitude.
Finally, let us stand this on it's head. Whenever we read the gospel we need to ask ourselves, "Where is Jesus in this story?" Yes, Jesus is the one telling the story, but the stories he tells and the incidents in the gospel always reveal Jesus in deeper and more mysterious ways. There are other connections we did not see at first.
The faithful servant--the one who comes in from the fields and then puts on his apron and serves is Jesus himself. Later in the gospel he refers to the "fields that are white and ready for harvest." He is the one who has been working in these fields harvesting souls.
Then it is no co-incidence that at the Last Supper Jesus himself gets up and puts on an apron to wash his disciples' feet. It is there that he says, " For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves."
Jesus himself is the faithful servant, who comes in from the fields of his work and then serves at the table of sacrifice out of total, great and unconditional love for mankind. The only trophy he gets is a scepter that is a broken reed and the only crown he wears is the crown of thorns.
It is all well and good saying we should serve without any thought of reward, but that's impossible. We're not wired like that. It is only Jesus Christ who can do this, and it is only inasmuch as our lives are supernaturally conformed to his life that we can eventually begin to live a life of total service and sacrifice to others. Then we will know that the true and lasting reward is to live in union with the one who serves.
Until then we might have to put up with paper crowns and plastic trophies.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
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