Reflection for Saturday, August 28, 1999: 21st week in Ordinary Time.

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Kline, Steve
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... You yourselves have been taught by God to love one another. -- 1 Thessalonians 4:9|... So out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. -- Matthew 25:25|In my days as a wire service reporter, I sometimes disdained colleagues who seemed to want to be "spoon-fed." They seemed unwilling to spend the time and energy it would take to root out information they needed, and they complained that a source or two didn and sup1;t tell them everything.|In today and sup1;s first reading, Paul refuses to spoon-feed the Thessalonians. You know what it means to love one another, he says. God himself has taught you, he says.|Sometimes I pretend not to know what God has planted in my heart. I see someone in need or pain, and I know in my heart what to do: Find some way to help. Even if all that means is taking time for a kind word or an offer of assistance. But that means I go out of my way. And with a hundred other things that demand my time and attention, how easy it becomes to ignore the promptings of my heart, the promptings of God, the promptings of love.|Still, I have been taught by God to love. I know that. I feel it deeply. I intuitively know the truth of what Paul wrote to the Thessalonians.|So if I know that truth, does it mean anything in my life? Does it make a difference?|It means that if I have been given certain capacities, certain abilities, then being faithful to God demands that I use what I have been given to build up the Kingdom of God. It does not matter how little I might have. I might be a klutz, a slow learner, a thick-headed plodder. It does not matter. There are no excuses. I have something -- something -- to offer.|The challenge is to find out what that something might be.|What prevents me from finding it?|Today and sup1;s reading from Matthew gives me a clue. Fear prevents me from discovering how I might help build the Kingdom. In the Matthew story, the unproductive servant, out of fear, buried what he had been given instead of putting it to good use.|The servant feared his master and sup1;s anger. The tragedy of his story is that the very action he takes to avoid the anger leads him straight into the eye of the storm.|What do I fear? Being distracted from my comfortable routines by discovering that I could do something to help those around me who suffer or are in need? Do I fear simply having to exert myself? Or do I fear the consequences of discovering that I am not nearly so helpless and lacking in gifts as I would like to believe?|And why would I fear those things? For one thing, it means an end to self-indulgence. Letting go of fear brings me face-to-face with responsibility.|The master has entrusted me with much. Even if I am weary or afraid, unmotivated, uncertain of success or failure, I am responsible to find ways by which my family, friends, colleagues, those in pain, those in need, those lost in fear, might profit by what I have to offer. And I must accept that I may profit by what others have to offer.|I don and sup1;t need spoon-feeding on this point: This is how God has taught me to love.|Readings Texts On Line|for Sunday|Retreat Page
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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