Saturday, August 31, 2013

I Will Give You Great Responsibilities

On the subject of fraternal charity you have no need for anyone to write you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another.  Indeed, you do this for all the brothers throughout Macedonia.  Nevertheless we urge you, brothers and sisters, to progress even more, and to aspire to live a tranquil life, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your own hands, as we instructed you.  1 Thessalonians 4:9-11

Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents.  See, I have made two more.’  His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.  Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities.  Come, share your master’s joy.’  Matthew 25:22-23


Peace, like all our efforts, is ultimately the work of God but it is our great responsibility to work to make it happen.  We are called by our baptism to be instruments of peace for those around us and for the world. We need to believe that, although our efforts to pray and work for peace may seem small and insignificant, God is indeed building the house.  “Unless the LORD build the house, they labor in vain who build.  Unless the LORD guard the city, in vain does the guard keep watch. (Psalm 127:1)


We’ve got to be careful not to take the Gospel reading today too literally.  Really.  If you just read the word, it is about money.  But it is NOT about money.  It really is about grace. It’s about love.  It’s about Christianity in action.
You have been told not to put your light under a bushel because it loses something mighty “crucial.”  It loses the ability to shine in the world.  When we get gifts from the Lord, what do we do with them?  Do we put them to work in the world or do we hide them under a rock or lock them in the Upper Room?  For us to “progress even more” in our action, we must aspire to love one another no matter what the obstacle.
The Lord has a never ending supply of grace for us.  The Holy Spirit has countless gifts to shower upon us.  When we get these, they cannot lie dormant. 


The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.  The Lord comes to rule the earth with just us.  So we can act on the Lord’s instruction, we must use the gifts provided to advance the cause of love, not war.
This week, Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace, called on Secretary of State John Kerry to work with other governments to "obtain a ceasefire" in Syria and create "a future for all Syrians, one that respects human rights and religious freedom."
Bishop Pates addressed the Syrian crisis the same day Jordan's King Abdullah II and Pope Francis met at the Vatican. There Pope Francis spoke of Syria's "tragic situation" and said that "the path of dialogue and negotiation between all components of Syrian society, with the support of the international community, is the only option to put an end to the conflict and to the violence that every day causes the loss of so many human lives, especially amongst the helpless civilian population."
In his letter, Bishop Pates stressed: 
The longstanding position of our Conference of Bishops is that the Syrian people urgently need a political solution that ends the fighting and creates a future for all Syrians, one that respects human rights and religious freedom. We ask the United States to work with other governments to obtain a ceasefire, initiate serious negotiations, provide impartial and neutral humanitarian assistance, and encourage building an inclusive society in Syria that protects the rights of all its citizens, including Christians and other minorities.
Let us pray that these efforts to come to a negotiated peace will prevail and further civil war and international intervention can be avoided.

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