1 Corinthians 18-23
Today’s two readings can be seen as the other side of Jesus’ question: "What does it profit someone to gain the whole world, but suffer the loss of one’s soul?" That question was a warning to eschew temporal or selfish power when it jeopardizes one’s fidelity to Christ and His Church.
Today’s first reading tells us that the world is not an evil when seen through our fellowship with Jesus Christ, when we act in accord with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, we share in the power of God that makes all things work together for good (cf., Romans 8:28). Our baptism must not be divided into partisan expressions of faith in our Savior, Jesus ("So let no one boast about human beings, for everything belongs to you").
Jesus is our "One Lord", and we belong to him, both as Savior and as Son of God. Equally, when we act in accord with our baptism and with the Gospel, it is Christ who acts through us in all things.
Luke’s Gospel reading is about the choice that Jesus makes in selecting his first apostles, and the "sign" that he gave them of his power to fulfill what he promises. These veteran fishermen are chosen by Jesus "follow" him; he sweeps them off their feet with an enormous catch of fish, and then he promises to make them even more productive as fishermen "of the Kingdom."
Where are we in all of this? Jesus challenges us to become more engaged in the works of the Kingdom, and tells us that the arena of this engagement is the whole world. The Gospel we live and proclaim is for the whole world to receive, and for us to promote by the denunciation of any area of our human life which ignores the Gospel values of justice and peace.
As we prepare to celebrate the Labor Day weekend, let us apply these readings to the scope of our workplace, our employment, our engagement in civil society. Let us witness to the universality of God’s dominion over our lives. Let us reflect our conviction that the Kingdom of God is here and now in our lives. Let us work to build relationships of justice and charity which will proclaim that Jesus is Lord of our lives.
Fr. Arthur Carrillo, C.P. is the director of the Office of Mission Effectiveness for Holy Cross Province. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.