22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time – 1st September
What am I doing this for? This question can loom large in life when we seek to discover what the result may be for all our effort. We can consider whether the goal is worth devoting our energy to and whether the reward is really worth it. The emphasis is on engaging in a particular task for the hope of a promised or anticipated reward. This makes common sense, in many fields of life we are called to discover what we want to spend our life doing. Yet the problem is that once we have achieved one thing we start to feel a sense of dissatisfaction and start to look for a new endeavour. Our life can easily become a to-do list which we tick off at the end of each day.
The readings for this weekend promise a deeper reality about how we can find a place within side ourselves where we discover a God who calls us to be humble and at home. When we hear the word humility we can start to react strongly against it for fear that it will diminish our abilities or limit our choices. Yet Jesus points to a very different reality that we are not the centre of the universe and that our spiritual journey is not a pilgrimage we make on our own. He points to a connection between our prayer, our environment and our actions. This is not just about seeking the best for ourselves but seeking an outcome which is good for those who are considered to be on the margins of our society. Jesus does broaden our vision beyond narrow self-interest to a more global perspective where each person is seen as daughter and son of God. This is a vision which sees that the realm of God is proclaimed and we live in a world where our actions are directed towards living out that in vision.
What this calls us to consider each day is how we examine how God has been guiding us in each day and how ready we are to respond to those promptings. The focus then seeks to discover how we live each day in a communion of faith which embodies the Gospel. Our way of living changes to see what we are called to become. In this becoming, we start to notice the way to live and act differently. The Gospel is no longer words written in scripture but words written on our hearts and translated into action by our lives.
Fr. John Armstrong