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WORK FOR JESUS: IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT OTHERS THINK OF US

Father Francis's picture
Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

1 Cor. 4:1-6 & Lk. 5:33-39

Our modern world lays great importance on status and titles but Saint Paul showed himself to be a true follower of Jesus - by his lack of concern for how others viewed him. How he wanted to be known was quite humble by the standards of his day, “Christ’s servant and steward entrusted with the mystery of God.” They were not affirmations of power!

How did Paul come to such an indifference about status? He had learnt that if we are in Christ we possess everything, and there is nothing else on this Earth that matters. Paul entrusted his whole life to the Lord and found such contentment in possessing Him that the opinions and judgements of the world lost their importance for him.

Just as Paul did not try to gain public recognition he also did not fear other people's negative views about him. He told the Corinthians, "Not that it makes the slightest difference to me whether you, or indeed any human tribunal, find me worthy or not.” There was one person alone who Paul sought to please, one person Paul hoped not to disappoint – and that was Jesus.

With his heart filled with Jesus, Paul was at total liberty to love the Corinthians. Rather than feeling the need to gain their approval, he simply wanted to serve them. He did not want the messenger to distract them from the message of salvation in Christ that he proclaimed. Paul points the way for us. As we set our hearts on Jesus and devote ourselves to being stewards of the mysteries of God, Jesus will come to fill our vision also. Then we too will have little reason to be concerned about what others may think of us.

Levi, a tax collector, was sitting in his office when Jesus called him. He left everything behind and became a disciple. His enthusiasm was so great that he gave a feast at his house. This is the setting for Jesus' encounter with the Pharisees that we read of in the Gospel today.

Jesus enjoyed a meal with tax collectors and other 'sinners' whom the Pharisees spurned and scrupulously avoided. They tried to trap Him by bringing up the question of fasting, and even comparing Him to John the Baptist whose disciples fasted often. Jesus replied that it was a time for rejoicing because God had just brought salvation to Levi and his friends.

Levi's acceptance of Jesus shows that to drink the new wine Jesus offers we need to have a new heart. We need to go through a change in our way of thinking and acting. And the Pharisees show how difficult this can be since we can so easily grow comfortable in our way of doing things.

Every day God offers us new wine through the presence of His Spirit in our hearts. Every day, the Spirit gives us fresh opportunities to grow in our understanding and devotion to God.

Lord Jesus, help us to trust in the Spirit's presence within us, so that the revelation of God’s love for us will become a living reality as we follow You more faithfully.

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