The first reading hit me.
"Brothers and sisters:
If I preach the Gospel, this is no reason for me to boast,
for an obligation has been imposed on me,
and woe to me if I do not preach it!
An obligation has been imposed on me....wow, that is a powerful line.
I began to think about
the commitment I made at my baptism, then later at my confirmation, these were the beginnings of my lifetime journey toward discipleship.
"I have made myself a slave to all
so as to win over as many as possible.
I have become all things to all, to save at least some."
I thought to myself, when my time here on earth is over will I have helped to save at least one; will I have been instrumental in guiding at least one soul toward heaven like Paul mentions? Or, will I have missed my opportunity to be a witness for Christ?
After prayer I went over to the computer to read my email, where I came across this:
Jesus teaches us how to live in the present time. He identifies our present time as the end-time, the time that offers us countless opportunities to testify for Jesus and his Kingdom. The many disasters in our world, and all the tragedies that happen to people each day, can easily lead us to despair and convince us that we are the sad victims of circumstances. But Jesus looks at these events in a radically different way. He calls them opportunities to witness!
Jesus reminds us that we do not belong to this world. We have been sent into the world to be living witnesses of God's unconditional love, calling all people to look beyond the passing structures of our temporary existence to the eternal life promised to us. Henri Nouwen
I thought of a conversation I had with my daughter at lunch yesterday. She has recently been introduced to a wonderful older lady named Adelle, a Third Order Franciscan. She shared with me that one of the beautiful things about Adelle was not only her peaceful spirit, but her ability to listen and answer truthfully in love. She is a living witness of Christ's love by being love in that moment to the person right in front of her. As she shared this with me I was reminded also of Paul.
"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
In a world that is always in a hurry, the unselfish gift of giving time to someone in need is a beautiful way to witness. As Mother Teresa once said, "Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing."
Today I pray for the gift of love, not to hold it close or keep it for myself, but to give it away freely as Christ did then and still does today, as an opportunity to witness..... Amen