Reflection for Friday, August 26, 2011: 21st week in Ordinary Time.

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O'Reilly, Daniel Patrick
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Today's scriptures speak to me of trying to be like Jesus. Paul tells the Thessalonians to "conduct yourselves to please God", "not to take advantage of or exploit a brother or sister". The Psalmist states, "The heavens proclaim his justice." And in Matthew, Christ tells the parable of the ten virgins. Five are prepared and five are not ready for the arrival of the bridegroom. Jesus warns us, "...stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour."||When I first read these scriptures, I found them a little depressing. We all have to be goodie-two shoes 24 hours a day just in case today is the day of Christ's return? What fun is that? However, on second review, that is not what they are talking about at all. And these scriptures are incredibly meaningful and relevant to us today.|As I write this, the economic markets are in disarray and people are worried about what the future holds (me included). As best I can tell, this economic collapse is due to greed, plain and simple. Material greed. Political greed. Yeah, fix the economy, but don't you dare touch my stuff. Christ's model of generosity and humility seems to be lost. Making money is a good thing, but it sure shouldn't be the end goal.|I think trying to be like Jesus is a life long task. It isn't something that just all of a sudden happens. It starts with a relationship with Christ. And then it requires work. It's kind of like preparing for a race. You can't just show up after eating a banana split and run 5 miles. You have to work and train. You have to be prepared.|A relationship with Christ requires risk and trust. A few days ago a violent thunderstorm blew through our area. The thunder was loud and the rain came down in buckets. Two of my boys decided to run outside and dance and play in the rain. Good grief. How foolish. I watched them and stayed inside, warm and dry (and smug). And yet, as I watched them, I realized they were the ones with the smiles and joy on their faces. A relationship with Christ requires risk. And it requires trust.|Think about this. I am 56+ years old. I've been alive well over 20,000 days. And I have never had a day where I wanted for food, clothing or shelter. And yet I worry about my retirement account. Why is that? Why am I not more trusting of God? Why don't I conduct myself to please God?|My prayer today is for those of us who want to be like Jesus, who want to please God, but seem to be having trouble risking going outside in the rain.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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