"The Lord God has given me a disciple's tongue, for me to know how to give a word of comfort to the weary. Morning by morning he makes my ear alert to listen like a disciple.The Lord God has opened my ear and I have not resisted, I have not turned away.I have offered my back to those who struck me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; I have not turned my face away from insult and spitting.For the Lord God helps me; this is why insult has not touched me, this is why I have set my face like flint and know that I shall not be put to shame." (Isaiah 50: 4-7)
We are not our own. All that God gives to us is not for us. Rather than being a seemingly harsh statement it is meant to lead us toward contemplating the reality that our Lord has made us for Himself. We are not made out of a selfish possessiveness but created by God who is love. His design in creating us for Himself alone is so that we may come to know the fullness of joy and fulfilment that He intends for us in this life and in the one to come.
Freely we either deny Him or lovingly turn toward Him so that we may be sent forth in love to others. By faith we can see that all given to us by God is for God. And in His love we come to see how the giving of ourselves away in service to others is a means of showing gratitude to God for the gifts He has given. Despite the receptivity of others to our kindness we are sent forth in love to give unconditionally. As today's first reading reminds us the Lord God is our help and we will not be put to shame for acting with virtue.
Thanksgiving to God for the grace that is given to us is manifested in the giving away of ourselves in the service of love to others. This reality can present a great challenge for us as we are surrounded by messages that promote and value self-preservation or personal merit as the ideal.
If we are given the gift of faith then we are also presented with the responsibility of it's demands. Today's second reading reflects upon faith and works. Our lives should be a living testimony of the faith that we profess. Most of us are called to serve Christ in the active vineyard of the world and are not cloistered in a cave in silent prayer. We can often seek monstrous ministries when the Lord calls us to first minister in the most simple ordinary moments of our lives. The impact of our actions as a reflection of the faith we claim to have does more for another, and in doing so does more to serve the Lord.
Our actions speak to ears that have not yet been opened. An act done out of faithful love and service can invite the opportunity for one to listen and come to know the Lord. Our mouths may be busy with prayerful ramblings , but if we do not "walk the talk" then these moments of prayer should be for our own increased faith. (CC)
“The deeds you do may be the only sermon some persons will hear today”-St. Francis of Assisi