Daily Reflection
August 8th, 2004
Larry Gillick, S.J.
Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

There are implications to any relationship and true freedom consists in faithfully living those implications. We are encouraged in today’s liturgy to allow our beliefs, our dogmas, our traditions to be incarnated, in fleshed by the worshipping community.

We are invited to reflect and pray with our being God’s little flock with Jesus as the shepherd. The implications of this are to trust that our real treasure is in the life after the shepherd comes again. We are to have a relationship with money and all possessions which reflect our belief in the goodness of this life’s being a prelude to the goodness of the next. Implications bring out our fears and resistances.

We are praying with our fears and God’s invitations. We are servants called to live in preparation for eternal life by living faithfully each present moment. The freedom called for to live this way is found in the teachings of the Master of the house who loves his flock.

One of the wonderful ways of continuing family identity is to tell stories, show pictures and relate how things were in the “good” or “bad” old days. Even if they been told and shown many times before, there is a comfort of re-membering with the characters and events of our formation.

With each telling a little varnish and garnish is added and the great events are even more so and the lesser times and relatives tend to be shined up. The Book of Wisdom has many aspects of a family album. We hear in our First Reading a grandparent’s voice relating again for the zillionth time, one moment in the tremendous history of God’s relationship with the people of the Exodus, the Jewish nation. One can almost see the wide-eyed young Jewish family-members hearing of the faith and courage of their captive ancestors.

The voice speaks directly to God in protest of faith and reminds God of the goodness and love shown by the destruction of their enslaving foes. All listeners are reminded that God glorified the nation Israel. Then there is a little reminder to all listeners that as the ancient believers held fast to the rituals and instructions of God, so too will they all remain in God’s love by doing the same. 

The Gospel follows Luke’s relating how of much more importance each person is than the lilies of the field and birds of the air who are beautiful and known by God. What we hear has to do with the implications of our being so precious and cared for. The “kingdom” is being given to us who have faith in the Giver. If we do so trust, then our “treasure” does not rely on or support the temporal kingdom here on earth.

Jesus spends the remainder of our reading discussing implications of belonging to this other kingdom. Our preciousness in God’s eyes is contrasted with the preciousness of material treasures. We get our value from the Creator and not the accumulation of other creatures. Our hearts desires will announce to which kingdom we belong. For what do we wait and with what degree of patience and watchfulness?

Jesus is an investment of love in us. We are invited to make a similar investment in the holiness of humanity and the dominion of God. As usual a parable makes the tension quite clear.

There is a master who has gone away, promising to return, but the when is indefinite. The servants who remain in the house are to act justly, live soberly, aware, and above all, expect the Master’s return at any moment. This is a direct charge to the listening-disciples. The chapter from which these verses are taken opens with Jesus’ speaking to his closest followers and reminding them to avoid “the yeast of the Pharisees.” The disciples are the servants then in whom Jesus has invested the treasures of his teachings. Unlike the Pharisees they are to be faithful in tending the household and the men and maidservants of the household. The emphasis is on the living the teachings of Jesus until his return.

You might make a financial investment in some company and they might in turn think quite highly of their venture, because of your confidence. The company might conduct themselves by good management and produce a profit for you. On the other hand, it might think you have lost interest, or conduct business in such a way that you do not receive any interest for your investment.

God, in Christ, has bought into the human company. God invested totally in our human recovery. We believe in this and desire to live reverently and gratefully for this infinite affirmation of our company.

We can also live unjustly, unsoberly, unaware of our dignity and so deflate our value and the whole human operation. This is why the section before about the “lilies” is so important. Jesus calls us his flock and possessors of the whole investment portfolio. When we hear who we are through the stories, pictures and deeds of God for us, then we re-member ourselves to the company of Jesus. The real problem for us humans is having the faith that there is a kingdom to come in which we are to invest now and the payoff is in the “then” to come. There is the “here” and the “here-after”; where is our heart!  

“Exult, you just,in the Lord; praise from the upright is fitting.” Ps. 33

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