Abbot Philip: ‘We are not called to be unctuous or overly sweet or overly pious in a bad way.’

Today we have an odd collection of readings.  Job, in the first reading, is so depressed and overwhelmed by the awfulness of life that he is sure that he will never see happiness again.  The ending of the Book of Job, of course, shows him totally restored and once again happy.  All of go through periods, however, in which we have some doubts about the happiness of this life, some doubts about God’s care for us and perhaps even a lot of doubts about our capacity to keep on living.The second reading, from the First Letter to the Corinthians, is about preaching the Gospel.  The word, Gospel, means Good News or Good Tidings.

This is a huge contrast to the feelings of Job in the first reading.  Paul is willing to give his whole life to preaching the Gospel and will receive no human recompense at all.  Why?  Because he knows that only in this way can he also share in the promises of the Gospel.You and I are called to preach the Gospel in the way we live each day.  It is not as though we must leave what we are doing, get on the road and go about talking.  No, we are invited to live in such a way that people will become interested in the Gospel just by seeing how we live. Mark’s Gospel picks up this same theme of preaching the Gospel.  Jesus Himself tells us that He has come to proclaim the Gospel.  No matter if He is tired, not matter if He is pushed on all sides—still, He knows that the Father has sent Him to proclaim the Good News.We are invited today to live with Christ.  It is He who lives in us.  All we need to do is allow His presence to shine through us.  We don’t have to do anything spectacular.  If we live with love and care for others, this shows through us.  If we are willing to suffer for Christ, this also shows through us.  We are not called to be unctuous or overly sweet or overly pious in a bad way.  We are called to know Christ’s love for us and to respond to that love by loving others.–Abbot Philip,OSB, Christ in the Desert Monastery, Abiquiu, New Mexico

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