by Connie Beckman
“What is this I hear about you?” These words from Luke 16:1 kept going over and over in my mind as the priest began his homily. These words did not come from Jesus in the Gospel of Luke. The rich man in the Gospel directed this question to his steward, “What is this I hear about you?”
It is a question perhaps I need to ask myself from time to time. To check in with myself to see where I am with my walk with our Lord Jesus Christ. Or, reworded, ”Does my walk match my talk? Do my actions speak as loud as my words?”
What if Jesus directed this question to me, “What is this I hear about you?” Would it be good things that he heard about me? Would people tell Jesus about me, “She is a holy, righteous woman”? Or would they tell Jesus, “She claims to be so holy and righteous and goes to Mass all the time, but she never gives food to the hungry, she never visits the sick. She talks about mercy but does not offer compassion or mercy to others”?
Giving an account
Some day I will be called to give an account of my life to our Lord Jesus Christ. I have a long way to go before I can stand in front of my God and say honestly, “Lord I served your people with my whole heart, body and soul.” As I ponder this I can’t but help fall on my knees and cry out, “Lord have mercy on me a sinner.”
As a Catholic, I am called to live the Gospel in each and every circumstance of my life. St Francis said, “Preach the Gospel. If necessary use words.” It is not easy being a Catholic in today’s world. You and I are called to be holy as our Lord commands: “Be holy as I am holy.” How does a Catholic become holy in a society that screams, “Me first”? Many say that if we put God first, others second and then ourselves lasts, we are on the way to holiness. I find much encouragement in the letter of Saint Paul to the Thessalonians:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for us, so that the word of the Lord may speed forward and be glorified, as it did among you, and that we may be delivered from perverse and wicked people, for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.” (Thessalonians: 3: 1-3)
If I want my walk and my talk to harmonize, then I have to read and meditate on the word of God each day so that I can live the Gospel as Jesus calls me to do. I need to ask the Holy Spirit to write God’s word on my heart so that it becomes a part of who God created me to be. I need his mercy and forgiveness each day. And I cannot do this without the sacraments of the Church, especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Mass is where I am invited to receive my Lord and my Savior. As I consume Jesus’ Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, he gives me his strength to meet the needs of the day. He chips away little by little at my selfishness and pride. He replaces it with his love.
Peter’s fidelity oath and humiliating denial
In the book entitled Jesus, the Apostles, and the Early Church, Pope Benedict reflects on the Apostle Peter, “The school of faith is not a triumphal march but a journey marked daily by suffering and love, trials and faithfulness. Peter, who promised absolute fidelity, knew the bitterness and humiliation of denial: the arrogant man learns the costly lesson of humility. It was a long journey for Peter that made him a trustworthy witness, “rock” of the Church because he was constantly open to the action of the Spirit of Jesus.”
I pray that I, like Peter, remain open to the action of the Holy Spirit each day. As I travel on this journey toward heaven, I may stumble and fall flat on my face at times, but I know that if I seek God’s mercy and ask for his forgiveness, grace will lead me home.
Connie Beckman resides in Helena, Montana, with her husband and their four cats and dog. She is an active member of the Cathedral of St Helena, the Catholic Writer’s Guild, and a Catholic writers group in Helena. She is a former editor and feature story writer for a bi-weekly newspaper and has been published in many Catholic magazines. Her desire as a writer is to encourage Catholic spiritual growth by sharing the truths of the Catholic faith through the written word, addressing a variety of subjects. Connie shares her joy and love of God at her website: www.conniescatholiccorner.com.