“EMPLOY [YOUR GIFT] FOR ONE ANOTHER, AS GOOD STEWARDS OF GOD’S VARIED GRACE” (1 Pet 4:10)
📖1 Pet 4:7-11; Ps 96:10, 11-12, 13 (R.v.13b); Mark 11:11-25
I hope you have not forgotten what we said on Monday when we began our reflection on the First Letter of St. Peter. This letter was written as a source of encouragement to a suffering community and advise them on how to survive in the face of the trials.
Today, the letter encourages us to use our God-given gifts to help alleviate the needs of one another. Of course, as St. Paul noted in another place, love is the greatest of the gifts of God (cf. 1 Cor 13).
How much are we using these gifts to serve God in our neighbours? If we use them well, they will benefit us and serve for the glorification of God. But when we fail, we are inadvertently inviting the wrought of God. We must all learn from all that happened in Mark 11:11-25. It is a case against unproductivity.
Just as he did in the case of physical and spiritual blindness (Mark 10:46-52), Jesus will mix up the cases of physical and spiritual unproductivity in one long event. First, he saw a fig tree which had no fruit and cursed it (Mark 11:12-14). Next, he entered the Temple, a house of prayer and worship, probably to pray. But instead of meeting people at prayer, he met them trading, bearing no fruit of sanctity, a case of spiritual unproductivity. So he swept them out (Mark 11:15-18).
I just imagined what Jesus would do with those he would meet going to market or farm on Sundays instead of going to worship him. What of those who make noise in the Church?
By the way, it was not the time for figs to bear fruits. Yet, Jesus cursed the fig tree for not bearing fruit. In our call to discipleship, we are expected to bear fruit in season and out of season because Jesus would return at an hour we do not know.
St Justin, whose memorial we celebrate today, spent his life, after conversion, using his intellectual gift in defence of Christian faith in the 2nd Century. May God also grant us the disposition to use our own gifts to serve him in the world, and so gain eternal life in the next. Amen.
Happy new month dear. Have a grace-filled day. Peace be with you.