Reflections for the Working Soul
Gospel: Luke 3: 10-18
“Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.”
By Bishop Precioso D. Cantillas, SDB, DD
The message of John the Baptist to those who want to receive the Lord is that they should share what they have with others. Sharing one’s life is what John himself did, and what Jesus, the Lord whom John was preparing people to receive, did too. Both John and Jesus spent their whole life and strength doing the Father’s will so that others may live the divine life; they gave up their lives so that others may have the fullness of life. Sharing ourselves is what God wants of us too. We can give our life to God and to others through our day-to-day living and working. We too, can spend all our strength and energy in doing our work for God and for others. We need to add this dimension in the daily work we do.
A paid work may seem to be not an act of sharing; taking compensation for the time and energy you spend in work maybe seen as a kind of trading or selling part of oneself for its monetary value. But, the human person, deep within him, in his mind and heart, could intentionally and willingly do his work for the good of others, or for the glory and praise of the God who has given him life and strength to do his job. This right intention in doing one’s work, adds a deeper and spiritual value to human work, which usually has a commercial value in society. The worker, who is so focused on the face value of his activity, may not see and be aware of the greater value of his actions. Moreover, work and activity could take the attention of the worker so much that the latter is caught up in the physical and material aspects of human work. The thought of Jesus and John the Baptist could then remind the worker that he must share himself with others and with God through his human activity.
Work then becomes a concrete act of sharing oneself. Working with one’s heart and soul is real sharing of one’s being with those who would benefit from his work. In sharing oneself, one gets completely filled up with the satisfaction, which no amount of money can buy.
By Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS
A lady colleague of mine has a perennial complaint against herself: she can’t seem to find enough closet space for her stuff. No matter how spacious her house is—for she has moved from an apartment to a bigger apartment to a house to a bigger house, etc.—there can’t seem to be enough room for all the things she accumulates over the years. She says she cleans her closets on occasion-when she already feels smothered by her possessions-and yet in time they still overflow to the hallway and wherever else there remain vacant spots in her home.
On an architect-friend’s advice she moved to a house with a storeroom at the back, but it was worse: termites chomped away at almost everything chewable that was stored there, including her precious family photo albums. Believing God was trying to teach her something, she resolved to keep just enough clothing and furniture to fit into a modest condo unit and then gave away anything she won’t need everyday. But the problem persists. She has donated so much-clothing and household appliances and gadgets for disaster victims, books to public school libraries, even new gift items she has no use for-and yet things seem to pile up faster than she can even sort out. Her one “consolation” seems to be that her Zumba classmates are in the same predicament-they all share a passion for bargain shopping.
It doesn’t matter that she bargain-shops also for other people in anticipation of their birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Her weakness is acquiring things faster than giving them away, and so she hoards them until they become brittle and useless in storage. Today’s gospel message is especially for people like her-a reminder to focus on matters essential to our fulfillment and salvation. After all, as the wise say, “Hindi mo madadala sa hukay yan (You can’t carry it in your grave)!” Even a Henry Sy won’t be needing more than two cubic meters of space underground when he goes.
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