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For When It Feels Like the Work is Never Done

November 10, 2020   Memorial of Saint Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Lectionary: 492)

Reading 1   Ti 2:1-8, 11-14

Beloved:
You must say what is consistent with sound doctrine,
namely, that older men should be temperate, dignified,
self-controlled, sound in faith, love, and endurance.
Similarly, older women should be reverent in their behavior,
not slanderers, not addicted to drink,
teaching what is good, so that they may train younger women
to love their husbands and children,
to be self-controlled, chaste, good homemakers,
under the control of their husbands,
so that the word of God may not be discredited.

Urge the younger men, similarly, to control themselves,
showing yourself as a model of good deeds in every respect,
with integrity in your teaching, dignity, and sound speech
that cannot be criticized,
so that the opponent will be put to shame
without anything bad to say about us.

For the grace of God has appeared, saving all
and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires
and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age,
as we await the blessed hope,
the appearance of the glory of the great God
and of our savior Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness
and to cleanse for himself a people as his own,
eager to do what is good.

Responsorial Psalm   37:3-4, 18 and 23, 27 and 29

R.    (39a) The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Trust in the LORD and do good,
that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security.
Take delight in the LORD,
and he will grant you your heart’s requests.
R.    The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
The LORD watches over the lives of the wholehearted;
their inheritance lasts forever.
By the LORD are the steps of a man made firm,
and he approves his way.
R.    The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Turn from evil and do good,
that you may abide forever;
The just shall possess the land
and dwell in it forever.
R.    The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.

Alleluia   Jn 14:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel   Lk 17:7-10

Jesus said to the Apostles:
“Who among you would say to your servant
who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field,
‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’?
Would he not rather say to him,
‘Prepare something for me to eat.
Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink.
You may eat and drink when I am finished’?
Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?
So should it be with you.
When you have done all you have been commanded, say,
‘We are unprofitable servants;
we have done what we were obliged to do.’”

By Kristen Busa 

The work is never done. 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells a parable about servants and their masters and our unworthiness.  This gives me pause because of the social justice, freedom for the oppressed lens in which I always try to read Jesus’ words. I think Jesus uses this comparison with his disciples because, although they are not servants inside of homes, they are familiar with the work that does not seem to end. 

I get this and I don’t even have kids. I often joke that if I was only responsible for cooking, or cleaning, or being good at my job, or working out and eating healthy, or spending time in prayer then I could do a great job at it.

The work of doing all of these things and doing them well is exhausting and endless.

On our good days, both the diligent servant and I do not expect praise or a special feast for doing the work that is required of us. On our good days, both the diligent servant and I know that the God who loves us unconditionally is asking us to be the hands and feet of the Divine and that it is an honor, a joy, and a privilege to participate in that work. On our good days, both the diligent servant and I rest knowing that we did the best we could with what we had today.

On the harder days, both the diligent servant and I need community to remind us that, as the Oscar Romero Prayer says, “It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.”

I know I cannot do this alone.

It's too much and it's too exhausting, especially this year. I need people around me to help carry me on the hard days, to remind me of the good, and to help me with the work. This is the community Jesus was trying to build and it's the community that we need as Christians to encourage and support us each day. This work is hard and it is never done.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Kristen Busa is a new wife, a high school theology teacher, and semi-professional trip planner. She loves the natural world, teaching students about scripture and social justice, going for all the hikes with her Golden Retriever, Finn, and trying to cook every recipe on her Pinterest board. She believes community is central to our experience of God. Find out more about her here.

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