Readings for Tuesday August 18, 2009
First Reading: Judges 6:11-24
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 85
Gospel: Matthew 19:23-30
“For men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible. ”Then Peter said to him in reply, “We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.” (Matt. 26-30)
I remember one summer when I was younger, we had this tree stump that needed removed from our back yard. I told my dad that I though that I could dig it up and take it out. My dad, playing the skeptic didn't think it was possible and that there was no way that I could dig it out. But regardless, he decided to up the ante, he told me that if I was able to get rid of the stump then he would give me twenty dollars. Well, needless to say with some money as motivation, I decided to get to work. Through that next week I worked hard in the summer heat, digging, chopping and hacking at those roots. It was very hard work, and it took me quite a bit of time. But then one day, after a week of sweat and toil, it finally came out. I was so excited, in my joy I heaved up the heavy stump into my arms and carried into out garage where my dad was standing, and I dropped it right at his feet. No words even had to be said as the astonished look in his face showed his disbelief. I stood there with a big grin on my face and my chest a little puffed out from pride. Needless to say, I did receive my reward of twenty dollars and a very good lesson in perseverance. This story reminds me of how it is not just great receiving the reward, but there is also that feeling of accomplishment from a job well done.
When I was working on the stump, I spent a lot of time on it, I sacrificed time with friends and even from my own interests. I had to work hard, sometimes not in the most favorable condition, and I even had limited resources (a shovel and a ax). But I was still able to persevere and see it through to the end. Jesus tells His disciples that they too will need to sacrifice a lot in order to make it to heaven. He tells them that if they are able to see this through to the end, then their reward will be great. We too must keep this in mind in our own faith journeys. It can be very easy to be bogged down in the challenges of trying to live a holy life, a life for Christ; but we must remember that we are not doing this for personal satisfaction or for instant rewards, we are doing this for the everlasting life that is offered to us if we are willing to sacrifice for Him here on earth.
May God grant us the faith and courage to continue to follow Him and to persevere through all the "stumps" in our lives.
Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord we thank you for preparing a place for us in heaven, thank you for your love and mercy. Help us to cling to you and to see this life that we are called to through the end. We pray for all those who are being persecuted and ridiculed for their faith. We pray for all of our priests and religious. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.