July 4, 2010 – Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The teaching Jesus gives in Luke 10 can provide a serious challenge to even the most vocal advocate of Christian stewardship. Jesus tells not just to believe that God loves us and provides what we need. No, mere belief is not enough; we have to show we believe it by the way we live.
We all know that the foundation of stewardship is gratitude for all the gifts that God has given us. Our faith is that God does love us, and he gives us many gifts to provide for our needs. That doesn’t negate human effort, for a loaf of bread shows much labor in growing the grain, harvesting it, grinding it into meal or flour, and baking it. But even there, the life in the seed, all that goes into the growing – sunlight and rain and air and soil – the strength to work, are gifts from God.
But for those who truly trust him, God urges them to show that trust by walking without a money bag or a suitcase. In today’s economy, maybe Jesus would tell us not to bother with a credit card. Our way of life should exhibit our faith that “The kingdom of God is at hand for you.”
We all learned that the hermits in the early Church and the first friars in the Middle Ages took Jesus’ instruction literally. They truly lived on what people offered them in alms or what they begged when they traveled from town to town.
Jesus may not be expecting us to copy their examples. But the principle behind their actions is real. We’re to gratefully accept what we do receive and not hoard it, because we know that the Lord of the universe has much, much more available. And then we are to share with those who have even less.
Joy, trust, simplicity, hospitality – these are the hallmarks of those who accept Jesus’ vision of the way life is to be lived.