Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Trickle Down Blessings

Trickle Down Blessings

November 21, 2012
Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

By Colleen O'Sullivan

“Worthy are you, Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things; because of your will they came to be and were created.”  (Rev.  4:11)

While people were listening to Jesus speak, he proceeded to tell a parable because he was near Jerusalem and they thought the Kingdom of God would appear there immediately.   So he said, “A nobleman went off to a distant country to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return.   He called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins and told them, ‘Engage in trade with these until I return.’  His fellow citizens, however, despised him and sent a delegation after him to announce, ‘We do not want this man to be our king.’  But when he returned after obtaining the kingship, he had the servants called, to whom he had given the money, to learn what they had gained by trading…”  (Luke 19:11-15) 

O Lord, ever guide me that my life in this world may in some way glorify and honor you.

Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem.   Sometimes his journey reads a bit like The Canterbury Tales, so varied are the characters he meets along the way.   In this section of Luke’s Gospel (18:18 – 19:28), the Lord encounters a well-intentioned rich man, whose love for his possessions unfortunately outweighs his desire to follow Jesus.   Then he meets a blind beggar who cries out for healing.   Upon having his sight restored, this man, full of gratitude, joins the followers, glorifying God every step of the way.   Just prior to today’s reading, Jesus spots Zacchaeus in a tree and shouts to him to come down, that he is coming to dinner at his house.   Zacchaeus, knowing himself to be despised, a tax collector, an extortionist and sinner, is overwhelmed that Jesus is honoring someone like him with his presence and responds that he will make restitution for all the money he’s stolen from taxpayers and will give half of his wealth to the poor.

Jesus seems to take all these characters and incorporate them into the parable he tells in today’s Gospel passage.   First, he talks of a nobleman taking a long journey to obtain a kingship.   He knows that his disciples and many others in the crowd expect political fireworks when they reach the holy city.   They believe his kingship will be political.   They don’t understand that he will be a suffering Messiah and that it may be a long time between his death and resurrection and the day he returns as King in glory.   Through this parable of the Ten Golden Coins, Jesus says we have a choice about how to live in the meantime.   Some of us will take what God gives us and generously share it with our brothers and sisters.   Some of us will take what God gives us and selfishly hoard it for ourselves.   Others of us will reject Christ entirely, saying we don’t want him as our King.   There are other things in life we deem more worthy of our worship.

Two thousand years is a long time to wait, and we have no idea how many days or millennia more may pass before Christ returns.   So, some of us may have relaxed our vigilance.   But as Jesus reminds us in the parable, the King will eventually return and will demand an accounting of us.

When you are examining your conscience, try doing it in terms of this parable.   Do we share what God has given us?  Beyond material goods, God has blessed us with his love, his mercy, forgiveness and healing.   Do we let those things flow through us to others?  Are we loving, kind, merciful and forgiving in our relationships with our brothers and sisters?

Or are we sometimes hoarders of all God has bestowed upon us?  Yes, we see in our lives how much God loves us.   Yes, God has healed us at times, forgiven our sins, shown us mercy, maybe blessed us with material wealth, but we want to hold it close.   We don’t want to let go of it.   It doesn’t trickle down to others we encounter.

As we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Lord, what kind of people are we?

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