Monday, November 17, 2014

Going out on a ledge - A Quest for priorities

            In the Book of Proverbs, the author describes the “ideal wife” in second century Judaism: a combination of a good housewife and a savvy businesswoman, always ready to be of help. She lives in awe of God.

Michelangelo's Judgment
In the Gospel according to Matthew, Jesus tells of a man, about to travel, who gives his money to his three servants.  On his return, he asks them what they did with the money.  The first two have doubled their investments, while the third buried the money, didn’t do anything.  The point is simple:  use your talents--intellectual, musical, artistic, athletic—for the glory of God so that the Master can say well done, good and faithful servant; come, share your Master’s joy.”


St. Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians urges us to be “wide-awake” Christians. Christ will come suddenly and unexpectedly, like a thief in the night.  Therefore live now, Paul says, as children of the light.  Pursue single-heartedly your true purpose in life.


And modern-day author Jack Finney wrote a short story titled “Contents of a Dead Man’s Pocket.”  The main character, Tom, spent months copying information onto a yellow legal pad.  One evening, his wife goes out to a movie, and Tom stays home writing on his paper.  Suddenly the paper blows out the window onto the ledge 11 stories above street level.  


Tom makes his way onto the ledge.  As he thinks about possibly falling to his death, he realizes that all someone would find in his pocket would be a yellow paper with notations.  
What do we live for?  What drives us, so to speak, onto ledges where we might risk our life, our eternal life.  Do we have our priorities straight? In the end, what will people find.  


Living a life that matters invites us to examine our conscience.  We sometimes feel guilty, yet conscience is more than feelings.   It’s our way of judging whether our behavior and attitudes are in sync with the way we ought to relate to God and one another.   


Conscience is “our moral compass,” a friendly guide in our quest for authenticity.  We examine our conscience to make sure that we are fundamentally oriented to God.  


Where are we going?  Toward God or away from God.  


Are we other-centered?  Self centered?  Do we really care about people: family, relatives and friends, colleagues, neighbors?  


Let us be “wide-awake” Christians, people of faith: prayerful, compassionate, generous, honest, responsible, conciliatory and fair in all our relationships.


Do we participate fully in the liturgy?   


Do we share what we have with the needy?  Do we make an effort to be informed about issues that affect the common good?


And what are our motives behind our behaviors?  


Yes, what do we want to be remembered for?  What do we want to have in our pocket?


Are we ready to meet Jesus if he suddenly comes to us?  Are we ready to be awestruck?


If not now, when!

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