THE PARADOX OF OUR LIFE AND MISSION

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

 

THE PARADOX OF OUR LIFE AND MISSION

 

July 25, 2011

 

Today’s readings:

2 Corinthians 4:7-15

Psalm 126:1-6

Matthew 20:20-28

 

 

The authentic Christian life is a counter culture to that of the world. That is why it is so difficult for sinful humanity to live out what is authentically the way of Christ. That is why we are called on to put on the mind of Christ. The way of the world is a wide road that leads to destruction, while the way of Christ is a narrow path that leads to salvation.

Today’s readings are very interesting, in that they speak about some of the paradoxes in living for and serving Christ while in the world. Let us take a look at these.

 

Bible verse

The world

The Christian life

2 Cor 4:7a

earthen vessels

treasure

2 Cor 4:7b

power from us

power of God

2 Cor 4:8a

afflicted

but not constrained

2 Cor 4:8b

perplexed

but not driven to despair

2 Cor 4:9a

persecuted

but not abandoned

2 Cor 4:9b

struck down

but not destroyed

2 Cor 4:10

the dying of Jesus

the life of Jesus

2 Cor 4:11

we who live are constantly being given up to death

so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh

2 Cor 4:12

death is at work in us

but life in you

Ps 126:5

those who sow in tears

will reap with cries of joy

Ps 126:6

those who go forth weeping

will return with cries of joy

Mt 20:25-26a

the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them

but it shall not be so among you

Mt 20:26b

whoever wishes to be great among you

shall be your servant

Mt 20:27

whoever wishes to be first among you

shall be your slave

Mt 20:28

did not come to be served

but to serve

 

In the topsy-turvy world of Christian discipleship, the first is the last and the greatest is the least. Suffering for the cause of Christ brings joy. Human weakness is strength in God. The humble are exalted. The foolish shame the wise and the weak shame the strong. The lowly and despised reduce to nothing those who are something.

Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords, came as a suffering servant. For all those who wish to follow Jesus, he gives the directive: deny yourself and embrace the cross. For those who truly want to serve him, Jesus says, “Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?” (Mt 20:22b).

We may give up many things, like our time, talent and treasure, we may endure many hardships, but we are assured that we are on the right path. We simply have to trust in Jesus, “knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and place us with you in his presence.” (2 Cor 4:14).

The paradoxes of life point to the reversals in our earthly fortunes, as God works in and through us. When we finally look back on all the ups and downs of life, on all the seeming tragedies and pain, we can confidently say, “The Lord has done great things for us; oh, how happy we were!” (Ps 126:3). Even happier will we be as we go about our work of evangelization and mission, bringing more and more people into a vibrant life in Christ. Everything then works for our good and for the good of God’s people. “Everything indeed is for you, so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.” (2 Cor 4:15).

 

*     *     *