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Keeping Score When God Doesn't

November 5, 2020   Thursday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time (Lectionary: 488)

Reading 1   PHIL 3:3-8A

Brothers and sisters:
We are the circumcision, 
we who worship through the Spirit of God,
who boast in Christ Jesus and do not put our confidence in flesh,
although I myself have grounds for confidence even in the flesh.

If anyone else thinks he can be confident in flesh, all the more can I.  
Circumcised on the eighth day,
of the race of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin,
a Hebrew of Hebrew parentage,
in observance of the law a Pharisee,
in zeal I persecuted the Church,
in righteousness based on the law I was blameless.

But whatever gains I had,
these I have come to consider a loss because of Christ.
More than that, I even consider everything as a loss
because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

Responsorial Psalm   PS 105:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R. (3b) Let hearts rejoice who search for the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Sing to him, sing his praise,
proclaim all his wondrous deeds.
Glory in his holy name;
rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!
R. Let hearts rejoice who search for the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Look to the LORD in his strength;
seek to serve him constantly.
Recall the wondrous deeds that he has wrought,
his portents, and the judgments he has uttered.
R. Let hearts rejoice who search for the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the LORD, is our God;
throughout the earth his judgments prevail.
R. Let hearts rejoice who search for the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia   MT 11:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel   LK 15:1-10

The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 
So Jesus addressed this parable to them.
“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them
would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert
and go after the lost one until he finds it?
And when he does find it,
he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
and, upon his arrival home,
he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ 
I tell you, in just the same way
there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous people
who have no need of repentance.

“Or what woman having ten coins and losing one
would not light a lamp and sweep the house,
searching carefully until she finds it?
And when she does find it,
she calls together her friends and neighbors
and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’ 
In just the same way, I tell you,
there will be rejoicing among the angels of God
over one sinner who repents.”

By Owen Wolf 

I have a tendency to view life and my relationship with God as if it is a scorecard. I find myself attempting to make “this for that” deals with God to try to reconcile or direct outcomes of specific situations. I used to pray that I would have a lot of money so I could be as happy as possible. Or I would think to myself that if I didn’t talk poorly about someone, then that would bring me better karma.. 

As silly as this all sounds within my own head, I still to this day struggle with the pull of the scorecard. 

It is an attempt to grasp how well I am doing at life, or if I am adequately keeping up with the pace at which I believe I should be performing. The truth that I have discovered, and am actively working to trust more deeply, is that the scorecard doesn’t matter because everything I do as a human here on earth is temporary. 

This does not mean I cannot have vast goals or push myself to do my best in all that I do.  Rather, it means that I can aim to focus on being my best rather than doing my best.

Being the most authentic version of myself is in and of itself is a way for me to actively choose a way of life focused on living for the greater glory of God. 

Any gains or successes I have during my time on earth will be minuscule in comparison to God’s love or the life that awaits in heaven. This rings true for any dark times or losses I will experience. 

Given that our world is full of hustle, bustle, and comparison it is a priority for me to stay in constant communication with God throughout everyday.

Subtle, frequent check ins or moments of gratitude during my days have helped me stay grounded amongst the chaos that can ensue during daily life.

I find myself most often being thankful after leaving interactions with others, whether strangers or long time friends.

My soul is full from the encounter with another, for who they are, more so than what I could or did gain from them.

To me, one of the most beautiful parts of life itself is not the potential to gain or consume, but rather the ability to give to and encounter so many incredible individuals. The feeling someone has after spending time around a positive, connected being is special and can totally alter the trajectory of another's day. I pray my longing to grow in deep relationship with God and others will forever be fed by knowing that it is through genuine interaction where I am most able to find my truest self and share that with all of the world.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Owen Wolf is an individual with a passion for connection. Connection with his faith, family, friends, environment, and within himself. As an avid outdoorsman he spends large amounts of time in the woods or near water marveling at God’s creation. With strong interests in cross cultural experience Owen enjoys traveling frequently and has spent extended periods of time living in both Italy and Ecuador. You can find out more about Owen here.

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