Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Gospel Thoughts Today: Heavenly Obligations

Disorderly environments spark the organizer in me. Over five years ago, I had flown to DC to spend a month with my oldest daughter (pregnant with my first grandchild when I arrived) and her husband.  While we awaited the arrival of Connor (Con Con as we lovingly call him now!), Mal needed help organizing and getting rid of clutter in their tiny condo.  Perfect job for me!  We began with the kitchen . . . I did something I think my son-in-law still hasn't forgiven me for.  There were 50 million (ok, maybe not 50 million!) wine glasses from visits to wineries around Virginia (with tastings, you usually get to keep the glasses).  Well, considering there were two of them in the house, I figured 50 wine glasses were taking up too much space in their already crowded kitchen cabinets. So, got it down to maybe 15, boxed the extras and placed it by the front door for a donation pickup. Kevin agreed to get rid of them . . . albeit reluctantly. I think he caved because he is a gentleman and, most importantly, I am his mother-in-law! By the time Connor was born, a lot of elbow grease went into preparing the house for this tiny human being who required a lot of extras . . . diapers, clothes, crib, swing, stroller, etc.  I know Mal and Kev were as thankful for the help as I was in providing it. Just my small part in fulfilling my heavenly obligation to serve others joyfully. Although, not sure Kev has fully forgiven me . . . love you, Kev!

Today's Gospel (Luke 17:7-10) teaches us to perform our heavenly obligations . . . no complaining allowed:

Jesus said to the Apostles: “Who among you would say to your servant who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’? Would he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished’?

Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded? So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’”

In Anne a lay apostle's book Whispers From the Cross, she encourages us to identify heavenly obligations vs. earthly temptations and respond accordingly: 

"It is so important to identify our ‘stuff ’ and not put it on someone else. If someone attacks us without merit, it could be their struggle that prompts the attack. We have to learn to identify our fears and insecurities and how these fears and insecurities affect our heavenly obligation, which is to love. Clearly, if someone we love speaks we must listen and examine their observations but there are times when the enemy tempts those around us against us and there are times when the enemy tempts us against those around us. To simplify, Jesus will always shine a light of compassion and truth on the people in our lives. The enemy will always shine a light of suspicion and anger on the people in our lives. As Christ followers, we must look at the people in our lives in truth, with compassion. We can judge objective wrongs as wrongs and still view those acting out those wrongs with compassion. We can say, 'Ah, yes, it is pain and vulnerability that prompts these bad actions against me.' Viewed in this way, we can avoid bitterness and condemnation, even as we deal with the effects of the wounds inflicted by others. We, committed to Christ and plugged into His constant healing graces, can stop the destruction from spreading and even push back at it by returning love for hostility."

Lay apostles, love and serve unconditionally . . . even when the task at hand may be met with protest. Before judging the "wine glasses" are just that, wine glasses, seek to understand the actions or motivations, and by all means, respond with love.  

Thank you, Lord, for teaching me to continue to focus on my heavenly obligation to love and serve others.  Please help those whom I serve to see Your Light!

God bless,

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