Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful to them on the ground that they are members of the church; rather they must serve them all the more, since those who benefit by their service are believers and beloved. Teach and urge these duties. Whoever teaches otherwise and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that is in accordance with godliness, is conceited, understanding nothing, and has a morbid craving for controversy and for disputes about words. From these come envy, dissension, slander, base suspicions, and wrangling among those who are depraved in mind and bereft of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.
Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
“…Peace I leave you, my peace I give you…” is a part of the communion rite invoked at every Mass. How do we receive these words? Our first reading today from Paul to Timothy helps us enter more deeply into our Mass during this time of peace. The peace that our Lord wishes to share with us is more than a general happiness or fleeting euphoria, but a lasting contentment. We are content because it is our Lord who is the active agent securing our peace.
This divine peace pursues us throughout the day, and Paul exhorts us to be content in this awareness. It is God who pursues us so that we might rest in this peace. When we pursue, we are often sidetracked by the material world. When we pursue, we lack the discipline to turn off our televisions and phones or disengage from our social media appetites. We may be foolish in our pursuits, but God is not.
Francis Thompson, the English poet and author of “The Hound of Heaven,” brilliantly describes the tenacity with which our God pursues us as we choose all manner of distraction and escape:
I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, …
Are you content with God’s pursuit of you? The next time you attend Mass, use the sign of peace as a moment to surrender to your pursuer and rejoice in the love that sought us first.
—Richard Schuckman, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago
Lord, we pray for hope when so many suffering people around the world or right next door seek justice. We pray for courage to be faithful to the right path when it might be risky to speak out. We ask for mercy since there may be times when our courage cannot be found.
We ask for the ability to see the world as it really is, in its beauty and misery, its love and hate, and to see through your eyes. We pray that we will never grow too tired, too skeptical, or too complacent, to experience outrage in the face of atrocity
—Invocation for the 20th Anniversary of the Jesuit Martyrs and Companions