Lectio, 7.Jan.04Reading. Col 1:1-14; John 6:30-33, 48-51
"May you lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and grow in knowledge of God." (v. 10, RSV)
Sometime last week, I asked what action, if any, belief implied. Paul's answer to this seems to be that people who believe will perform works pleasing to God. This will be "good work" which bears fruit. In the Gospel reading, Jesus says the bread of God will give life to the world.
An application of this would seem to be that that which is life-affirming is of God. As we work to enrich the lives of other, we do work pleasing to God.
As we grow in knowledge of God, we grow in understanding of what we are called to do. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul speaks of our spiritual gifts, and of how these gifts are intended to build up the community of faith. I would suggest further that these gifts are intended to feed the whole world, not just our insular community of faith.
St. Francis reportedly said: "Preach always. When necessary, use words." In other words, preach more through your actions than you do words. Each of us who has recognized the divine burning in our hearts is called to share that fire with the rest of the world. For many people, the only image of the divine they can understand is the one they can see. In other words, you may be the face of God for another this day!
For many, the only body of Christ they can accept is the loving friend who embraces them when they are in sorrow. That is our daily challenge, to walk as ambassadors of the divine in a fractured and hurting world.
May we be always equal to the task.
Strengthen me for your service,
ready to find you in every face
ready to serve justice
and walk with you
this day and ever more.
So be it.
Contemplation. How may I best recognize my gifts and use them for the healing of the world? Or, at the very least, for the comfort of the next person I encounter?