Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today’s reading from First Timothy sounds almost like a coach getting his team ready for the big game. This coach has much higher goals than a home run or a touchdown. Instead of pursuing a league championship, he seeks faith, love, patience, and gentleness. How about us? Are we in the game or on the sidelines? Let’s look at what Coach Paul is talking about.
We strive for faith when we see it as not just believing that God exists or that Jesus is God’s Son. Faith is a relationship with the Lord in which we imitate Jesus’ outlook on life, his teachings, his love of God. We struggle with his commands to love our enemies, to turn the other cheek, to forgive all wrongs, and to take up our cross each day. As Paul would say, we are “competing well for the faith.”
We pursue love by listening to the Gospel, in which Jesus tells the parable of the rich man who was only concerned with his own comfort. Jesus says that if we truly understood the prophets, such as our first reading from Amos, we would not spend all our energy and wealth on ourselves. We may find that love for our family is much easier than love for strangers or the homeless, but Jesus never said that love would be easy.
As we learn to let go of our need to have everything go our way, we become more patient with people who disagree with us, or with frustrations and problems. We learn to see God in our setbacks as well as in our successes. Striving to see Jesus in everyone, we can become more patient with them. They will begin to see Jesus in us as our devotion to him grows. Experiencing the Lord is the championship we want.
Tom Schmidt, Copyright © J. S. Paluch Co.