Motivated by Love

September 16, 2019  •   Douglas Sousa, STL

For Sunday, September 22, 2019
25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Motivated by Love

Amos 8:4-7
1 Timothy 2:1-8
Luke 16:1-13

There is a helpful rule of thumb for managing our spending: “Mind the pennies, and the dollars will take care of themselves.” In other words, if we are careful with our smaller purchases, we will have money in hand for big ticket items or emergencies.

However, it’s easy for us to do just the opposite. We see something we’d like to have and tell ourselves, “It’s only five dollars. I can afford that.” Then we see something else and something else. Before we realize it, our wallets are empty. The purchases which seemed small and insignificant at the time turned out to be very expensive indeed when added all together.

The same principle is true in our spiritual lives. Jesus puts it this way in this Sunday’s gospel: “The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.” In other words, if we make good choices in the small details of our daily lives, it will add up to a good and holy life. On the other hand, if we fail to do good when we have the opportunity, or if we make bad choices because the sins we commit seem small and insignificant, it will add up to a sinful life. Like those small purchases that turn out to be very costly, those sins which seem insignificant can have a deep, corrupting influence on our consciences and souls in the long run.

The good news is that just as cutting corners can get us into a rut, small steps in the right direction can get us out. It is not always necessary to make big changes in our lives to get ourselves back on the path to reconciliation with God. We can fundamentally redirect our course by committing ourselves to making good choices every day. It could be as simple as making time to call a friend who is struggling or going out of our way to give money to a panhandler. It could mean getting up a little earlier to spend time in prayer. These are small gestures that don’t always require much time or effort. But they can go a long way toward training us to be more concerned with others and more aware of God’s presence and action in our lives.

A good example of this spiritual principle is the “little way” of St. Therese of Lisieux. She teaches us that no talent or gift is as pleasing to God as the ability to love. Like holiness, love is the universal calling of the Christian. When done with love, the smallest works become great in the eyes of God.

Heading into the 2020 presidential election, we will hear a lot about what is wrong with our country and how to fix it. The candidates will lay out grand schemes and make lavish promises. However, if things are to change, it will take ordinary people making small choices every day to move things in the right direction. It will require each of us using less of our planet’s resources. It will mean being kind and compassionate with each person we meet. If we were all to commit to daily acts of charity, no matter how small, it would likely benefit our country more than any government program.

Douglas Sousa, S.T.L.

 

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ,
You came into our world
as one who served,
and you call your disciples
to love their enemies
and to share the life of the poor.
Help us in our everyday lives
to embody your gift of self
so that all of our actions
can be motivated by love
and focused on your will.
Through our daily acts of love,
transform our world into a reflection
of your kingdom,
where you live and reign,
forever and ever.
Amen.

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