Daily Reflection

From a Creighton Student's Perspective

October 31, 2011

Scott Quinn

Junior, Theology and Education Major

Rom 11:29-36
Ps 69:30-31, 33-34, 36
Lk 14:12-14

This past week, I had the opportunity to volunteer with a group called Nazareth Farm in Salem, West Virginia. The community is similar to a Catholic Workers House; it is based upon four cornerstones: prayer, service, community, and simplicity. While there were many experiences and encounters that affected me throughout the course of my time there, one stood out in particular.

On Friday, the last day of our service before we returned home, my crew was assigned to build a staircase and overhanging roof. We were particularly excited, however, because we had been told the day before that the homeowner was going to be making food for our lunch. A home-cooked, warm meal was a nice act of love on such a murky day.

But what really left an impression on me was the conversation we had with the homeowner. She told us that in her parish it was Pastor Appreciation Week, and so the guild she was a part of was putting on a little dramatization. The play took place in a courtroom; a man had died and was now being put on trial. The prosecuting attorney, the devil, was telling the court all the sins the man had committed. The defense attorney was silent, and it seemed all was lost. Then, once the devil was done, the defense attorney walked up to the judge and said, “Hi Dad.” He then proceeded to say that this man should not be judged with justice, but instead with mercy.

In the Gospel, we see the message of selflessness—that we are to treat all people as equals and invite all to our banquet—not so that we may receive payment, but precisely because they cannot repay us. In the first reading, we find the promise of mercy. From these two readings I find the call to live out our lives in service and love of one another, but not because we expect anything in return. We are called to love and serve because it is just and good, not in an attempt to achieve any righteous or special favor with God. As the play and Romans 11:29-36 suggest, we all have committed acts of disobedience, but it is by God’s mercy that we are saved. Thus, there is no need to dwell on the times that we have stumbled. Instead, we should therefore embrace the irrevocable gifts that God has graced us with and share them with all people, regardless of whether they seem able to repay us.

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