October 10-11, 2020
Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Learning to Live With or Without
“I know how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance.”
While thinking about Paul’s words, I found it interesting to look at the Greek behind the phrases “how to live in humble circumstances” and “how to live with abundance.”
When Paul writes “how to live with abundance”, the word he uses actually has the sense of superabundance or excess. As 21st century Americans, we live in the most prosperous times in history, surrounded by medical and technological marvels that would have been unimaginable to someone in St. Paul’s time. I wonder if we really know how to live with such excess. We can react one of two ways to the abundance of riches our country offers us: with gratitude or with expectation. Responding with gratitude points us to God and neighbor, leads us to share, and never takes for granted the bounty we have been given. Responding with expectation leads inwardly to envy, selfishness, and isolation. Which path have we taken?
St. Paul’s “how to live in humble circumstances” literally translates to “how to be brought low”. And I can’t think of a better way to describe the year 2020. How do we live having been “brought low”? I think that it comes down to that same choice between gratitude and expectation. No matter the circumstances, Jesus Christ is King of the Universe, and no matter how low things get, our King comes to us, suffers with us, and offers us His peace. Do we respond to Him with thankfulness, or do we demand more?
I must confess that I have not done a great job dealing with being “brought low”, that my relationship with God has been strained because, if I am honest, He has not been meeting my expectations. Perhaps others reading this Reflection feel the same way. I hope that, as a community, we can join together and pray that a spirit of gratitude fills our hearts and, through these humbling times, bring us all closer to God!
– Bill Merlock