Mission Statement

To build a dynamic Roman Catholic family of faith that seeks to encounter Jesus through the spiritual, Sacramental, catechetical, and social life of the Church. We strive to be the beacon of the light of Christ to all through joyful service and mission


 

October 2, 2022–Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

Those stock Western movie classics (that my barber seems to enjoy as they play on his TV while he snips and clips) have as well a set of moments for our present-day motivation.  We innately know that “the good guys” in their white hats will always win over the “baddies” in their hats of black. 

In a typical scene, the white hat hero notices a poster in the sheriff’s office advertising in large letters: “Wanted dead or alive; Black Bart for a reward of $1,000, which we note was a large sum in “them there days”.  So the reward money provides added motivation to his love of neighbor. He rides over the hills in a chase after the bad guy. A shootout follows, which ultimately provides for either a capture or a corpse. Bart’s bad days are over. The hero rides back to town with his prize slumped over a steed to claim the reward and maybe even get kissed by a fair maiden. The music fit for a finale plays ’til the screen announces “The End.” Our thirst for adventure is satisfied. We stroll sated out of the theater until the next one. 

We note that the plot here is usually simple, straightforward and settled.  But life in the real world is never so simple. Neither is our need for a strong faith.  It is our faith in the Man from Nazareth, Jesus Christ our Lord. He is our hero as we live out the adventure of a Christian life.  He is never specifically portrayed wearing a white hat but representing nonetheless pure goodness and heroic strength. 

Dare we ask Him: “Is there a reward for our fidelity?  Do we have a right to one if there is?”  We need not be timid here, because even great St. Peter had the temerity to ask Jesus, in plain speech, “What do we get out of this?” (Cf. Matthew 19:29) 

I believe it is natural to look for some reward for our efforts at living Christlike. That’s only natural. But we’re called to have a supernatural outlook in this life, one motivated by love for the God who so loved us into being in the first place. Expecting a reward for every good deed we do is juvenile at best.  If we need a reward; a burst of heavenly applause for each one we do, then something is lacking in us. Call it “Faith” in upper case type. 

In today’s Gospel, we get Christ’s opinion on the matter. He says that doing works of love and service to others should be reward enough for a person of faith. Besides, God notices everything we do in this life, and He has a perfect memory. Let Him be in charge of what’s ahead in the next life.  Meanwhile it is good to remember that the good we do, no matter how small or inconsequential, ultimately glorifies God and strengthens His Church for her mission. That should be its own reward. Let God handle the rest. 

Here are some thoughts on all of this from the great C.S. Lewis in his book The Weight of Glory (New York: Macmillan, 1980):

“We must not be troubled by unbelievers when they say that this promise of reward makes the Christian life a mercenary affair.  There are different kinds of reward. There is the reward which has no natural connection with the things you do to earn it, and is quite foreign to the desires that ought to accompany such things. 

Money is not the natural reward of love; that is why we call a man a mercenary if he married a woman for the sake of her money.  But marriage is the proper reward for a real lover, and he is not a mercenary for deserving it… The proper rewards are not simply tacked on to the activity for which they are given, but are the activity itself in consummation.”

God love you and give you His peace.

 

Reading I:  Habakkuk 1: 2-3; 2: 2-4
A typical complaint psalm, in which a person cries out to God for rescue. The usual pattern.  But here there is a promise of more trouble to come. Yet the prophet is confident through faith that God will protect His own people from harm.

Reading II:  II Timothy 1: 6-8, 13-14
A vibrant faith enables us to “bear our share of hardship for the gospel.”  Our faith makes us strong, loving and wise.

The Gospel:  Luke 17: 5-10
When opposition comes along, as it inevitably will in this life, a disciple on the way (to heaven) needs a faith in Jesus that deepens.  A strongly rooted mulberry tree can be uprooted by our faith.  Our works of love and service are the best response to this gift of Faith

 

 

John Patrick Publishing, Inc., Rev. Leonard N. Peterson. “October 2, 2022 – Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Reflection”. https://www.jppc.net/october-2-2022-twenty-seventh-sunday-in-ordinary-time/ (accessed September 28, 2022)