“No one can serve two masters.”
Our readings this Sunday call us to take stock and examine the quality of our lives as disciples of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, though, we often confuse quality of life with quantity in life.
We have become caught up in a misguided consumerism that leads us to acquire more and more material goods, to ensure our security, and to bolster our self-esteem. Yet, in the midst of material abundance, many people express feelings that are deeply affected by emptiness, unfulfillment, and loneliness. Ours is a culture of distraction, restlessness, and self-preoccupation. Consider how we are bombarded and distracted by noise and the constant presence of media in restaurants, airports, doctor’s offices, in our homes, and in our own hand-held devices demanding our immediate attention to Twitter and instant messaging.
The prophet Isaiah reassures us that God will never forsake or forget us. Unfortunately, our restless, preoccupied, and distracted living often leads us to forsake and forget the God who is in our midst. St. Augustine saw this in the people of his time and wisely taught, “God is within us, but we are outside of ourselves.”
Paul reminded the people of Corinth of the quality of the Christian life, “Brothers and sisters; thus should one regard us: servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Now it is of course required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.”
Attentive to Paul’s teaching, especially in the midst of our current social climate, let us recognize that we are brothers and sisters, servants of Christ. We must know and live the Christ who dwells within us. This is the Christ who emptied himself to become a servant, washing the feet of his disciples as an example of God’s humble service, love and care for all people. How are we living as brothers, sisters, and servants of Christ? Do others find in us trustworthy servants, images of the servant Christ?
Jesus said, “You cannot serve both God and mammon.” Often the word ‘mammon’ is simply understood as money, however mammon can be seen as any wealth, prestige, or status that leads to idolatry. Imagine and ponder how Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi heard today’s gospel proclaimed. How they must have rejoiced hearing, “do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink…look at the birds of the sky…are not you more important than they? Learn the way the wild flowers grow…Your heavenly Father knows what you need.”
The commitment to God and the undivided hearts of Clare and Francis was clearly evident in their lives. For Francis and Clare, poverty was not simply a virtue to be attained or a vow to be professed, poverty or rather Lady Poverty, was their true center and personified the humble, poor, and crucified Christ whom they embraced and embodied in their own lives.
With undivided hearts, let us humbly seek and live from our true center, Jesus Christ. Let us proclaim God’s Kingdom of peace, justice, and mercy in and for our world today.
Margaret Magee, OSF
FAN Board President
This week, spend some time outside, in creation, pondering the birds of the sky and the wild flowers. Meditate on their lack of anxiety and worry.
Through true examination of heart and living as the Christ, may we attain a soul at rest, we pray…
Based upon our service to our brothers and sisters in Christ, may we be found trustworthy to the Lord, we pray…