Oct 14, 2019
From the desk of Fr Stephen
When I was 19 years old my cousin and I had a painting business together. He was 3 years older than me so he was more of the boss of the business. We painted houses during the summer while we were home on vacation from seminary. In those days we worked hard, many times outside in the summer heat, I was making $5 an hour. Actually, I was happy with this amount of money, my family did not have a lot of money and so making $40 a day was a lot of money to me. I have a certain amount of charity in me, but I do not think I would have wanted to work 8 hours every day for nothing. I felt that if I put in the hard work, I was entitled to be paid for my services, even if it was only $5 an hour. It only seemed just.
In the gospel today, Jesus says that when we work for him, we really should not expect, nor are we entitled to, any compensation in return. This may not always make sense to us, especially here in America where we are taught to make something of our lives and be successful. We measure success a lot of times by the fruits of our labors. In other words, we expect a return for the hard work we put in. But with God, we do not earn our salvation, it is a gift given to us by God. Hopefully, by working hard, we open ourselves more to receive the gift God is giving us, but we don’t earn it and we don’t deserve it. Jesus tells us “we are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.” Yes, we are servants of God who should expect nothing in return except the knowledge that God loves us and wants us to live with Him forever in heaven, that’s it. This may be a harsh reality to us, we want to be paid for all of the hard work we put in. Although it may make sense to us in this world that we live in, it does not make sense in the next life. We will be repaid by God in His time.
Nevertheless, I am grateful for all of the hard work that many have put in over the years here at the Rock. Today we are celebrating our African heritage in a special way with our Spirituals concert. The choirs that will be performing this afternoon, have worked hard to get ready for this particular event. I am sure it will be a resounding success, most importantly because we are doing it for God Himself. The Spirituals have a resonance that appeals to all, because they come from a deep faith of the people who originally wrote and sang them. It resonates with us still today because we all realize that God is the only answer to many of the feelings we have in life, especially when we are overwhelmed. God indeed is there to comfort us, lead us, and guide us. Today, as we listen to the deep emotion poured forth in song, let us rejoice to know that God is walking with us every step of our lives.