- The Abbey of the Genesee - http://www.geneseeabbey.org -

August 18, 2016

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO [1]

19th Friday in Ordinary Time
Joshua 24: 1-13; Matthew 19: 3-12

“I gave you a land that you had not tilled and cities that you had not built, to dwell in; you have eaten of vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.” The land of promise was given to the chosen people as the new Garden of Eden. God created the world and all it contains. Because He made it, it all belongs to Him. After creating the world, God looked at what He had made and expressed great delight in the work of His hands. With great delight, He entrusted all He had made to the stewardship of Adam and all his offspring. My brothers and sisters, like our ancestor in the faith, we are God’s people, the sheep of His flock. We have been given the sacred task of tending the garden and all it contains.

Everything that we have has been given to us as a gift from God. God created it all and has charged us to be stewards of all He created. We have nothing that we have not received from the hand of God. Because we have been so gifted, we are obliged to give to others in the same way we have received. Recall Jesus’ words: “Freely have you received, freely give to others” (Mat. 10:8). We are to use our gifts and talents for the building up of the Kingdom of God and not for our own advantage. Since everything we have is from God, everything we do, we do because of Him. We have only to recall the words penned by the Apostle Peter: “If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength and energy that God provides, so that in all things God may be glorified” (1 Pet. 4:11). For children of the Kingdom, the glory of God should be the principal motive for all we do since every grace and blessing comes to us through Jesus Christ our Lord.

By the Eternal Word, God created the world and all it contains. By the self-emptying of the Beloved Son, God reconciled all the members of the human race to Himself. By conforming us to Christ in baptism, God has made us coworkers with Christ in building up the kingdom. Since God is the source of every blessing and the goal of our journey, the words of Jesus recorded in the Gospel of Luke are worth pondering: “When you have done everything you have been commanded to do, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants, we have only done our duty’” (Lk. 17:10). Having poured ourselves out in the service of the Kingdom, we can say with the Psalmist: “Lord, You alone are my portion and my cup; you are my refuge and strength” (Ps. 16:5).

Al we have; all we are; all we do that is good, is dependent upon and results from God’s free and abundant grace. Even when we are weak, God can manifest His strength. I’ll close with a few lines from the song “All Good Gifts”

All good gifts around us
Are sent from Heaven above.
So thank the Lord,
Oh thank the Lord for all his love. (Godspell).