Sirach 36:1, 4-5a, 10-17
It is hard to blame someone, anyone, for yearning for vindication, or longing for an ample reward for having made good choices in one’s life. To have been faithful to one’s duties and responsibilities, even when it may have brought reproach or jealousy from among one’s family or acquaintances, seems a good basis for looking forward to "living happily ever after".
Put into the context of God’s Word and the Mission of Jesus Christ, it is not surprising that the reading from Sirach addresses God in this way: Reward those who have hoped in you, and let your prophets be proved true.
Even more explicit is the dialogue between Jesus and the Apostles: Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.
There is a longing of the human heart to be satisfied in its desire to both do good and be rewarded for the good that we have done. We all dream of living "happily ever after". But first, Jesus invites his followers to follow his example (to be "baptized" in his baptism, which means to be "immersed in his mission"), to give their life in service to others, to fulfill what he will declare to be the great commandment, to love one another.
Lent will be upon us next week (March 9, 2011); let us prepare our hearts for the season of Lent by naming the persons who most need our serving them, and putting these words of Jesus into practice on a daily basis during Lent: Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant…For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve….
Fr. Arthur Carrillo, C.P. is the director of the Office of Mission Effectiveness for Holy Cross Province. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.