What’s in It for Us?

by Melanie on August 22, 2017

in Catholicism, Cursillo, Going 60 MPH, Nonfiction, Spirituality, Your Daily Tripod

Note: On Tuesdays and some Sundays, you can find me at Your Daily Tripod, owned by my friend TonyD. A longer version of the post below appears there.

I take this little notebook with me to Mass. I don’t do it in case I get some bright idea for a column or essay, or to work on my to-do list before things get started. No, it’s because of St. Teresa of Avila. She’s supposed to have said she never heard a homily from which she couldn’t learn something and since I began trying to live that a couple years ago, well, neither have I. Every homily, long or short, has some bit of wisdom, original or otherwise, that’s worth chewing on. And, if I don’t write it down, I’ll forget it.

Last Sunday, the celebrant shared this gem: “God’s grace is free; it’s not cheap.” I thought of that as I sat down to write today’s essay. In today’s Gospel reading from Matthew 19, Jesus has told the disciples how difficult it will be for the wealthy to get into the Kingdom. Peter, it appears, may be feeling a little confident about their chances; he notes they’ve given up everything and then has the audacity or innocence to say in essence, “So what do we get?” Jesus responds with what probably seemed to be a bewildering discussion of 12 thrones and more, with the warning, “Many who are first will be last and the last will be first.”

What did they get for following? What do we get for following? Grace. Mercy. Redemption. Not one of them is the type of wealth that shows up in a bank account or in visible trappings such as a big house, fast car, or fine jewelry. Just… grace, mercy, redemption, and their intangible cousins. All of them are free for the asking, but they’re not cheap, as Peter and the others learned. We all know that intellectually, but living it can be an entirely different matter.

Gems of wisdom from a celebrant or from Christ himself are nothing more than pretty words if we don’t write them on our souls, and attempt to live them. May we have the courage and faith to do so.

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