Saturday, November 10, 2018
Today, in Mercy, we celebrate the Memorial of Pope St. Leo the Great. He was a remarkable 5th century leader who consolidated essential elements of theology and administration for the yet emerging Church.
Our first reading today reflects Paul doing the same thing in the very early days of Christianity. His ministry throughout the Mediterranean basin guided early Christians as the Church planted its first harvest.
Paul lets us know that this ministry of leadership is not easy – that he relies on the good will of the communities he serves:
You were, of course, concerned about me but lacked an opportunity.
Not that I say this because of need,
for I have learned, in whatever situation I find myself,
to be self-sufficient.
Paul seems to refer specifically to material help, but certainly he values even more the spiritual and moral loyalty of his followers.
In our Gospel, Jesus offers us a sermonette that can, at first, seem a little confusing. His tone, as he speaks to a group of Pharisees, is somewhat ironic. But his bottomline message is this: loyalty to God, not to material things.
The thread running through all these passages? The work of the Church needs both our spiritual and material loyalty to thrive – whether in Paul’s time, or Christ’s, or our own.
The Pharisees pretended such loyalty, but Jesus challenged them:
You justify yourselves in the sight of others,
but God knows your hearts …
A sobering challenge against which to measure ourselves!
Music: Thank You for Giving to the Lord _ Ray Boltz