Oct 31 2020 Reflection
Saturday 31 October 2020
First Reading: PHIL 1:18B-26
My soul is thirsting for the living God.
PS 42:2, 3, 5CDEF
Gospel Reading: LK 14:1, 7-11
Today’s Note: Saturday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees,
and the people there were observing him carefully.
He told a parable to those who had been invited,
noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table.
“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet,
do not recline at table in the place of honor.
A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him,
and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say,
‘Give your place to this man,’
and then you would proceed with embarrassment
to take the lowest place.
Rather, when you are invited,
go and take the lowest place
so that when the host comes to you he may say,
‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’
Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table.
For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
. . . for your benefit. (Philippians 1:24)
Apart from his shackles, St. Paul was treated rather humanely at the governor’s residence where he was imprisoned when he wrote this letter. He was able to receive visitors and may even have utilized a secretary. In comparison to his adventures at sea and the beatings he had endured, it wasn’t too bad. Yet Paul still confessed an internal debate to his friends in Philippi. Would it be better for him to die or to remain on earth?
Paul longed to die so that he could experience uninterrupted communion with the Lord. Still, he concluded that it was better to remain in the flesh, as limiting and painful as it was. Why? Paul gave one reason that is as simple and personal as it is profound: for your benefit (Philippians 1:24). He loved the Philippians—and members of all the other churches he had visited—and he wanted to keep helping them and sharing the good news with them.
This may sound exciting—or intimidating. Remember, though, that for Paul, serving the Church often meant writing letters, offering up prayers, and dealing with legal and logistical matters. Leadership from afar, in other words. This might not be your typical idea of a missionary, and it may not have been Paul’s ideal either. But he spent years at a time in prison or under house arrest, so there was little he could do in person. He also spent a lot of time traveling from one place to another—usually on foot. However, no matter how limiting his circumstances were, Paul knew that there were still great possibilities to labor fruitfully for God.
Like Paul, we can glorify God whether we are in prison or free, in a kitchen or at a construction site, in college or a nursing home, even alive or dead. Every sacrifice we make for God’s people is an opportunity to build up the Church—for their benefit. So if you’re tempted to think that you can’t do much in service of God, think again. Remember St. Paul in prison. As you offer up your time, your challenges, and your prayers in love for the people around you, you will be serving him. And God will show you how to continue laboring with him—for their benefit.
“Lord, I desire to glorify you despite my limitations.”