Reflection for Friday, June 4, 2004: 9th week in Ordinary Time.

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O'Reilly, Daniel Patrick
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On first read, today's scriptures are kind of a downer. Remember that old song - I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden. Well, that is what today's readings say to me. In Paul's letter to Timothy, Paul tells Timothy, you've seen how I've suffered and how I've been persecuted? Well, if you keep the faith, the same is in store for you. The psalmist cries out that his persecutors and foes are many. Princes persecute him without cause. And in Mark, Jesus is preaching to a delighted crowd. However, Christ has reached the point in his ministry where the scribes and Pharisees are out to get him. Not very uplifting. You would think that if we kept the faith, our reward would be great. Well, there is that thing of eternal life, but what about the here and now? |We live in an age of entitlement. Everyone feels they are entitled to something. Big house, fancy car, power, money, respect, happiness. I sometimes fall into this trap. The world owes me. I work hard, I'm a good citizen, I'm a good person. I only want what I deserve. And I want it soon.|My eighteen year old recently graduated from high school. A happy and glorious day. Trevor will be attending Creighton in the fall. At Trevor's graduation party, one of his friends came up to me and told me that he was going to an exclusive school back east and he had gotten a scholarship that paid for all of his schooling. I smiled and congratulated him, but on the inside I was thinking that Trevor was smarter than this kid. Trevor worked harder than this kid. Trevor deserves a big scholarship to some exclusive school. He's worked hard to get to this point in his life. Heck, I've worked hard to get him to this point. I stewed over this the whole afternoon. Later in the day, another of Trevor's friends approached me. I asked her where she was going to college. She said that at this point in time she could not afford college. She was enlisting in the navy and would hopefully be able to afford school in four years. I was ashamed of myself and my ingratitude for God's gifts.|I thought about the saying I only want what I deserve. Good grief! If I truly got what I deserved, I would be face down on the ground, sobbing uncontrollably, begging for mercy. Praise God that we worship a God who loves us, who forgives us and who offers us second chances. I sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that if I just worship God and obey his commandments, life should be like a smooth and level path. No detours, no pitfalls, no problems. Scripture is quite clear that this is not true. If we keep the faith, we will be persecuted. If we present Christ, we will meet opposition. However, we are also promised that if we keep the faith we will have purpose, patience, love, endurance, guidance and peace. Paul tells Timothy that all scripture is inspired by God and it equips us for life. Paul also points out something in Timothy that I often take for granted. Timothy has been raised in a home where the good news of Christ is presented. It's easy to take our faith for granted and not thank our parents for that gift. Two things that I personally need to work on and that I would pray for are contentment with and gratitude for God's gifts.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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