Daily Reflection

From a Creighton Student's Perspective

February 6, 2011

Damian Olsen

1st Year Medical Student

Is 58: 7-10
Ps 112: 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
1 Cor 2:1-5
Mt 5:13-16

I’m blessed to be able to reflect on Sunday’s readings, especially this week. Things are moving along back into ordinary time both in the church and in life. School is back in session and holiday vacations from work are long gone. Some would say it’s ‘back to the daily grind’, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

These readings today give so much encouragement to us all, no matter what walk of life we are in. From trying to digest God’s great Word today, one cannot help but feel guided and refreshed. There is a common theme of the call to holiness running through these readings. In the word from Isaiah, God shows us how we can serve him. Feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, etc... we have heard this before. But it’s important to stop and think about where we find these people who suffer like this in the midst of our ‘daily grind’. We hear “...do not turn your back on your own,” which reminds us that the church is the Body of Christ. Yes, we can go out and directly perform the good deeds mentioned in this reading. However, we can also find these people everywhere we look: in our lost and misguided coworkers or classmates, in every soul we meet longing for fulfillment and something more out of this life. Even within our own families, we can feed the hearts of every person with the love of Christ that we are called to carry into the world. Through his perfect creation, God established his call to serve as the ultimate fulfillment of our human nature. If you read on you see “...and your wounds shall quickly be healed.” In our vulnerability and generosity towards others we find true joy and peace; our own problems melt away. This phrase reminded me of a billboard I saw that said something to the effect of “happiness is helping others.” It is in serving and loving others that our own wounds heal up and we become more like Christ in his ultimate service to us. This truth is only fortified by the responsorial psalm from today. God reminds us of the value and the effects of service to him.

In the second reading we find Saint Paul’s words only give further depth and meaning to this initial idea. He was a great evangelist for the church; we have our faith today largely in part because of his preaching. Here he describes how we are to bring the Word of God into the world around us. He tells how he valued nothing but Christ crucified and came with a humble demonstration of the power he received from Jesus himself. He did this in order to direct our minds away from the world so that we can focus on nothing but God and his goodness. Again, from this we can learn of how we are to serve Christ. It is so easy to let the world around us crowd our minds and bog us down with unimportant things during our ‘daily grind’. However, if the great disciple of Christ called so many to the faith by his humble presentation of Christ crucified, we should be able to do just the same. It can seem all too simple, but to quietly walk the path God has for us with such simplicity and dedication is all we need to do. We can also demonstrate this “Spirit and power” that Saint Paul refers to through carrying out the deeds Isaiah speaks of in the first reading.

These readings finish strongly with confirmation of all this from Christ himself during his earthly mission. His wording in this passage from Matthew is important to notice. “Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your heavenly Father.” It is our good deeds that set the example and allow others to give glory to God. These words are straight from our incarnate Lord himself; what more direction do we need? In this life our actions speak louder than our words and there is no exception when it comes to our faith. We must use the gifts with which each of us has been endowed so that Christ may use us as his instruments to direct the gaze of this struggling world up to our great Father in heaven.

So, as we all push on into this new year, Let us get back to the basics and ask ourselves some simple and challenging questions: Where do I place my value in this life: in Christ or in humanity? Is Jesus present in my actions that others may see the goodness with which God has created all humans?

 Do not despair and let the ‘daily grind’ get to you. Allow Christ to convert your heart in a new way so that you may be able to humbly make him present in your every action. 

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