Today’s readings express God’s ability to accomplish the seemingly impossible. They bring us to the conclusion that it is not stature or wealth that brings ultimate success.
I am left with some discomfort and challenge from the readings. They lead me to the conclusion that there is no enduring accomplishment without God. On one level I like these thoughts and on another they seem to undermine my human spirit. I am a strong willed person. I believe I can accomplish so much when I put my mind to it. This leaves me with difficulties when I am called to admit everything is a gift from God.
It brings up an internal struggle that has plagued me for years. What do I do and what does God do? How much of my success can I claim as my own and how much do I need to admit is a gift? Having grown up in the United States in the 1960’s, I came to believe it was our duty to make God’s work our own. What we do is for the greater glory of God. We lived through a period of great change in society and the church. We questioned authority and started to take a greater responsibility for our world. I grew up believing we were co-creators.
Tomorrow is the first day of classes at Creighton. I admit that I do not want my students coming to class thinking everything is a gift. I want them to work hard. I want them to feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the semester.
Congruent with the Gospel, I have little difficulty in admitting financial wealth is neither the road to happiness nor to the good life. In line with the first reading I have no doubt that with God’s assistance we can do more than we ever imagined. But my reading of today’s scriptures takes me out of where I am comfortable. It asks me if I am sometimes casting myself in the role of God. (I find that sometimes I am.) It asks me to accept everything as a gift. This is hard. I find that I am concerned with earning spiritual wealth. My father tried to do it his way through daily Mass and rosaries. I try to do it my own way. In both cases, I find us (my father and myself) to be at odds with the Gospel which tells us salvation is a gift. I feel both of us to be called not to change our actions, but rather to change our motivations. This is a much harder task.
My prayer today is to let the Lord into my heart. I pray for an openness to accept his gifts. I pray for a good and meaningful semester for both myself and my students.
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