October 20, 2015
St. Paul of the Cross
Lk 12: 35-38
“Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
All Good Gifts
In the recently-released movie, The Martian, the hero, mistakenly left for dead in a remote place, must rely on his own resources to survive. With only his own abilities and what he can scrounge – or ingeniously create – from the abandoned equipment around him, he builds and plants his own greenhouse to raise food. We would expect, I suppose, nothing less from a highly-trained botanist/mechanical engineer astronaut marooned alone on Mars.
Today’s Gospel reading reminds us that the gifts of God also come with expectations. When the Master returns from the wedding, he will greet us servants joyfully; and, in a bizarre turn-around, serve us as we recline at table – but only after the reckoning of past accounts. He is merciful, but also just. “All good gifts around us,” reads the hymn We Plough the Fields and Scatter, “come from heaven above.” Let us resolve, then, to use those daily gifts mercifully, justly, and thankfully, as the heavenly giver of them expects of us.
—Gregory Ostdiek, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic teaching science to inquiring minds at Loyola Academy, Wilmette, IL.
We plough the fields, and scatter the good seed on the land;
But it is fed and watered by God’s almighty hand:
He sends the snow in winter, the warmth to swell the grain,
The breezes and the sunshine, and soft refreshing rain.
Chorus: All good gifts around us
Are sent from heaven above,
Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord
For all His love.
He only is the maker of all things near and far;
He paints the wayside flower, He lights the evening star;
The winds and waves obey Him, by Him the birds are fed;
Much more to us, His children, He gives our daily bread.
We thank Thee, then, O Father, for all things bright and good,
The seed time and the harvest, our life, our health, and food;
No gifts have we to offer, for all Thy love imparts,
But that which Thou desirest, our humble, thankful hearts.
—Matthias Claudius, “Harvest Hymn,” 1780
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