I have always thought the celebration dances done by professional football players were pretty dumb. Athletes are being paid millions of dollars to do what they love to do. When they score, they are simply doing their jobs correctly. If they score a lot, they will be paid a lot more to do what they love to do. This isn’t to say I don’t appreciate great athletic achievements, but outside of sports we rarely see jubilation for just doing a job correctly.
In the spiritual life, it is easy to pat ourselves on the back and feel good about our spiritual practices. But today's Gospel reminds us that if we are faithful servants of Christ, acting in accordance with His will for our lives, praying, going to Mass, reading Scripture, it's all just our job. (See Luke 17:5-10.)
And just as a football player gets paid hordes of cash for putting on his helmet and doing his job on the field, we get hordes of grace when we cooperate with God will and do that which we are obliged. And maybe that is why it feels so good to be faithful in the spiritual life. It feels good to open ourselves up to God’s grace.
This isn’t to say that our lives are easy when we live them faithfully. Scripture tells us quite the contrary. But that isn’t the point. We don’t live a faithful life because it is easy or fun. We live it out of our love for God and in the hope of eternal happiness with Him.
We strive to be open to embrace the peace and joy that comes from following Christ, make self-corrections when we stray from that path, and just keep doing the right thing one day at a time.
When we fully participate in the life Christ is asking us to lead, the rewards aren’t external. It is all about having faith that the rewards and celebrations will come when we stand face to face with our beloved Lord.
Are you wanting to fully cooperate with God's grace in your life? Maybe start with the Sacrament of Penance this weekend.
Dr. MaryRuth Hackett is the host of the podcast Parenting Smarts. She loves historical fiction, dark chocolate, watching her children play soccer, a good cup of coffee (decaf please) and the quiet of the early morning. She holds a PhD in Educational Psychology and has a passion for helping parents understand the way their children grow and develop. She is a contributing author to our children's devotional prayer book, Rise Up and the author of our Blessed Conversations: Leader Guide found here. You can find out more about her here.