Reflection for Saturday, August 31, 2002: 21st week in Ordinary Time.

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O'Reilly, Daniel Patrick
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Today's scriptures jumped off the page at me. The "parable of the talents" in Matthew at times seems quite unfair and frightening, but I believe it delivers a message similar to that found in the 1 Corinthians reading. The Psalmist praises God and names him as our help and our shield. But the letter to the Corinthians is what really spoke to me today.||Sometimes I don't feel worthy to be called "a child of God." Sometimes I wonder, if I were sitting next to Peter would Christ have called me to be a disciple, too. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul lets them know that God does not look at us by human standards. God isn't looking for the most powerful, the smartest or the noblest. God simply looks for someone to accomplish His will. God chooses the "lowly and despised of the world."|I have been on a Bible study listserv for several years. Through this list I have met a gentleman who is truly a Bible scholar. He knows more about the Bible than I can ever hope to know. He stays up on all the latest scholarly journals, he reads about recent archaeological finds, he is familiar with the history of Rome, Greece, Egypt, first-century Palestine, etc. But he is not a believer. I was dumbfounded when I first found out. What is the point of studying the Bible if you don't believe in God? Well, he was a believer, but he lost his faith. What? How do you lose your faith? How can someone know Christ and then not know Him? This has been quite perplexing to me. I have prayed for this man often. I have prayed for understanding as to how one could lose his faith. To be honest, I find it a little frightening. Could this happen to me? I love God and I love God's Word. When Christ said that he came so that we could have life more abundantly, I believe he could use me as an example. I do not want to lose that.|One evening, sitting across the dinner table, I described this gentleman to my wife. I went into detail about his knowledge and all his accomplishments and my admiration. I described how confusing and perplexing it was to me that someone like this could lose his faith. My wife smiled and said one word: "Pride." I had fretted, prayed and stewed over this for weeks. One word. So simple. And I couldn't see it. Pride had become this gentleman's stumbling block. So much so that it had destroyed his faith. I still pray for this gentleman, but I've changed the focus of my prayers a little. This whole episode has helped me in looking at myself and my own motives. Paul says "whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord." Who am I trying to glorify today?
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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