(Part 27)



April 1, 2010

Today’s reading: Mark 12:28-34



In today’s gospel we read about the first and greatest commandment, to love God with our all. Part of that is to love God with all our strength (Mk 12:30). To love God with our whole strength is to offer everything to Him–our time, talent, treasure. What we are and what we have are all due to God’s grace and blessings, and we are to honor Him by offering them back to be used in any way He sees fit.

Since everything good comes from God, then our strength is really His strength. Since God intends to use us as His divine instruments for His own purposes, then He intends His very own strength to be ours and to be at our disposal.

The problem comes when (1) we start to act in our own human strength, and (2) we use the strength that comes from God for things other than His own purposes.


How do we act in our own human strength?

*    When we neglect prayer or do not pray enough. At times this happens when we become busy with God’s work, and those are precisely the times when we need to pray more intently.

*    When we fail to immerse ourselves in reading, meditating on and understanding the word of God, the Bible. We draw God’s own wisdom from the Bible. The teachings we have and the books we read should all draw richly from the Bible.

*    When we do not heed our anointed servant leaders and do things our own way. This includes looking down on those over us, not being obedient to pastoral directives, responding lukewarmly to marching orders.

*    When, while professing to be a disciple of Christ, we reject authentic Christian teaching. For example, on contraception, on headship and submission in marriage, on physical discipline for children, on tithing, on being evangelizers and missionaries.


How do we use God’s strength for things other than His purposes?

*    When we do not give our all for the life and mission that God has given us. We are God’s servants, we belong to Him, and we are simply to allow Him to do with us as He pleases.

*    When we prefer our own priorities to His. We often do not deliberately do this, but we do so unwittingly as we look to our own comfort, pleasure, satisfaction.

*    When we are not faithful to the vision and charism He has given to us. This includes unfaithfulness to our covenant.

*    When we withhold from His use what belongs to Him–money, talents, time.


When God calls us and anoints us for His work, He makes use of what we humanly have. But what God does is He infuses and suffuses what we have with His grace and supernatural power. That is the key to effective and fruitful ministry.

So we must always be mindful that whatever strength we have comes from Him, and such strength is always to be used for His purposes. When Jesus sees that we now understand this, then he will say, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” (Mk 12:34).

And we can rightfully answer: “My God is now my strength!”


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