Monthly Scripture Reflection

“I have been entrusted with a stewardship”
1Corinthians 9:17

We have been entrusted with a stewardship! How do we feel about that? Do we moan with Job about what a drudgery life can be? Do we quail with St. Paul about what happens if we are reluctant to accept our roles? “Woe is me if I do not preach [the gospel].” Do we go off as Jesus did and pray about our mission?

These pre-Lenten readings shed some light on what is to expected of us as disciples. Preaching is not always with words. How are we leading our lives so that those with whom we come in contact might be drawn to the Christ message and mission? In Leviticus we are told of people who are made “to dwell apart.” We must get rid of any dirty little secrets we have that would send us “outside the camp,” isolated, where we could not reach as many people with our good news.

Ash Wednesday starts with a clarion call from Joel. He describes our God as being ”gracious and merciful . . . slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting I punishment. Therefore “blow the trumpet, proclaim a fast . . . gather the people” as he calls people to repentance. Paul reminds us that God will give us everything we need. Thus we better not “receive the grace of God in vain.” It is that grace which enables us to live out our stewardship.

What assurances do we find in the readings that we can accomplish our mission? St. Peter is forceful in saying that “Christ suffered for sins once . . . that he might lead you to God.” And just as Noah was saved through water (with God promising that He would never again devastate the earth by flood) we too are saved by the water of Baptism, “an appeal to God for a clear conscience.” Paul comforts the Romans, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” It is Christ Jesus who was raised from the dead “who indeed intercedes for us.” For us, as for Abraham, God says, “I will bless you abundantly . . . because you obeyed my command.”

Are we clear about our purpose, about being as Paul says, “ambassadors for Christ, as if God is appealing through us?” We haven’t been taken to a high mountain and seen Jesus transfigured. But we certainly can and act on these words: “This is my beloved son,

“Listen to him.”
Mark 9:7