Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
November 3rd, 2011

Chas Kestermeier, S.J.

English Department
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Thursday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time
[488] Romans 14:7-12
Psalm 27:1bcde, 4, 13-14
Luke 15:1-10


Paul speaks of our responsibility in terms of the Lord's mastery of us and the ways that we attempt to subvert that and to become absolutely independent, but Paul indicates as well that we also pretend to some sort of mastery of others by the way that we judge them.

In the Gospel Jesus teaches about the desire of God for each sinner to repent and how greatly God rejoices over that conversion, yet the errant sheep is not exactly a guilty animal and the lost silver piece certainly has no responsibility for its situation. 

I imagine that we can bring both of these ideas together in one simple but critical thought: we are responsible for others, following the example of our God, and we must search out the lost of all kinds with gentleness and concern, with real and self-sacrificing love.  Note that it is not merely the sinful that we must seek to lift up, especially since that can only too easily lead to encouraging our self-importance and self-righteousness: we need to actively seek out all the lost, the clueless, the self-defeating, the depressed, the hungry, the ignored and neglected --- anyone who seems less than we are or who is in any kind of need, especially any need that we can supply.  That is not necessarily a matter of going beyond the bounds of our family or our workplace, or maybe even beyond our own selves, and most of the time it is not even a matter of providing "things."

This loving service of others involves an inward action as well: we need to focus on the other, and that leads us to forget our selves, to center entirely on the other and to bring all of our person to bear on loving them. 

We must learn, then, as Paul indicates, that God is Lord, our Lord, and yield to Him.  In our love and service to others we must use His gifts for others, not for ourselves but for their sake and in His name.  Imitating Jesus, we must not choose and serve only the worthy but must become the slaves and servants of all.  And we must accept being both sinners that God yearns for and at the same time the ones He has chosen to go and search out other lost souls... 

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