Saturday, June 09, 2012

Whole Livelihood

Whole Livelihood

June 9, 2012
Saturday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power: proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.  For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths.   2 Timothy 4:1-4

A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.  Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, "Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury.  For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood."  Matthew 12:42-44


"Forward, the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldier knew
  Someone had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
  Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
  Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
  Rode the six hundred.

(Selections from "Charge of the Light Brigade" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson)


The translators of today's selection from Paul's Letter to Timothy used as the first reading selected an interesting verb for verse 1.  The New American Bible used the verb "Charge."  In the New Jerusalem Bible, they use the expression "put this duty to you."  

Charge is an interesting selection to me because it also has other very interesting (and appropriate) connotations for Timothy.  Charge is the verb used to spell out what acts a person has committed that violate criminal law.  In the modern era, it is how we pay for something when we don't have the cash on hand.  We get the current benefit for a future promise to pay.  We also can be charged with the care or custody of a person.  Finally, it is what Alfred, Lord Tennyson had the Light Brigade do.

While there might be multiple implications in the first verse, there is no ambiguity in the duties of evangelization that Paul spelled out.  "…[P]roclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching." 


Are you ready to undertake the "solemn charge" that Paul details as the duties of an apostle -- giving your all even though the future benefit of being with the Lord is a long way off?  We will never know when we will collect the reward for our fidelity to this mission.

If the duties outlined in Timothy's letter and Mark's Gospel were on your sealed indictment from the Grand Jury, would there be enough evidence to convict you of evangelization?

As you get your offering ready for Mass this weekend, how does what's inside the envelope stack up against what is in the heart of the poor widow? 

Do you long for the Lord's presence or is heading to Mass on Sunday just an act you will do to get your Catholic ticket proverbially punched?  In Paul's letter, he poured out his entire being and self.  There is no ticket punching in the cell to which Paul found himself chained.

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