August 12, 2012 – Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
It is as simple as that. There is no need for us to get caught up in the ways of the world – consumed with our possessions or achievements, focused on keeping up with the Joneses or being the best of the best. No. As St. Paul reminds us in today’s second reading, in order to be happy and fulfilled in our lives, in order to do what we were created to do, to glorify the Lord and live worthy of the lives He has given us, we must simply live in love.
Notice how much more peaceful and manageable that calling is to the calling of the world which encourages us to attain more material possessions, to become a better businessman than the next one, to have the biggest most well furnished house on the block, and on and on. The world encourages us to find comfort and greatness in the here and now. It is exhausting just to think about. And, what’s more, it will never fulfill us, because we were not made for the here and now. We were made for God.
God calls us to simply love – love Him above all else and love our neighbors as ourselves. And, the wonderful Lord that He is, He does not merely call us to do that, He gives us an example to follow.
So, St. Paul urges us, “Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed Himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God” (second reading).
Living in love, in true, unconditional, Christian love, means giving oneself for the sake of another, just as Christ did. He offered His life out of true love for us, because He wanted us to have life everlasting, and He knew that in His offering Himself as expiation for our sins, that would be possible.
Likewise, each one of us is called to love God and love our neighbor. In doing so, we look out for our neighbor. We offer him ourselves in loving service, for no other reason than because we care for him. There are plenty of ministries within our parish that offer us the opportunity to do just that.
As Christ’s disciples, we should get involved. We should show true genuine Christian charity, and not in order to be praised or to check a to-do off our list, but solely out of love for one another. That’s what it means to be a Christian steward, to follow Christ, and to serve one another in love.
And to think, we don’t have to do it alone. In His ever-present spirit of love for us, the Lord not only gives us an example to follow, He gives us His grace and His strength, especially through the sacraments, aiding us in carrying out our mission as Christian stewards.
The more we participate in the sacraments, the more equipped we’ll be to live discipleship.
“Get up and eat, else your journey will be too long for you” (first reading).
Christ gives us Himself in the sacraments – His grace, His life – and He invites us to participate in them, promising us that when we do, He will strengthen us.
“I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate manna in the desert, but they died… I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” (gospel).
So, as we live our lives, striving to follow Christ as His disciples, we are called to love, first God and then one another, and we ought to run to the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, to encounter Christ and to gain the strength to “live in a manner worthy of the call we have received”(Eph. 4:1).