The question arose within me this morning about what I "do" for Christ in light of what Christ "has done" for me. How much of what I "do for Christ" do I, in reality, do for myself? I spend many, many hours in the various tasks of ministry - everything from writing sermons to pondering over finances. But how much of it do I really do for Christ? And how much do I really "do" for myself?
How much of all that I do would I do if I were not paid to do it? How much of it would I do if no one would notice that it was done, in other words, how much do I do to find a sense of affirmation whether from self or from others? I am not sharing the answers to these questions with you here. The answers are the stuff of my private conversation with God in these Lenten days. However, I share the questions because I think they are questions that we all need to ask of ourselves from time to time.
As I continue to ponder them, the answer is colored by this consideration: how much of my time and energy is spent seeking to avoid the pains and sufferings of my life that actually cannot be avoided, much less, taking on the pain and sufferings of others that I encounter in the world? The crucifix on my wall elicits that query. Jesus, after all, did just that. He took on himself the "sins of the world." Am I not called, especially as a priest, to do the same?
Each week, I lay hands upon the sick. Often I am deeply aware of the specific malady afflicting those seeking healing. As I do so, I consider whether I am willing to take malady on myself so that the one seeking healing may be relieved. Jesus, after all, did just that. He took on himself the "sins of the world." Am I not called, especially as a priest, to do the same?
Every day people come to the parish seeking relief from poverty in various forms. Rather than just giving them "a little to help them get by" am I willing to give up what I have so that they can have enough? Jesus, after all, did just that. He took on himself the "sins of the world." Am I not called, especially as a priest, to do the same?
So, as I focus on the crucifix on my wall, what exactly has Jesus done for me? For us? Are we not called to do the same?