“Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here at once and take your place at the table’? Would you not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink’?
Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!’”
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.
At the heart of Ignatian spirituality is a personal relationship with God. In today’s Gospel, Jesus addresses his disciples, telling them what this relationship entails. Often we expect something in return for our good deeds, for our faith commitment. Yet, Jesus critiques this sort of thinking, characteristic of the Pharisees in his time who considered their fulfillment of the law as a guarantee of their eternal reward. Jesus reminds us that our discipleship is not a matter of seeking rewards or returns for our good deeds; rather, it is one of deep love and humble, selfless service.
Do I expect certain “returns” in my relationship with God? Or is God’s love and grace enough for me?
—Matt Ippel, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic in the Midwest Province studying philosophy at the Universidad Antonio Ruiz de Montoya in Lima, Peru.
Take Lord, receive,
All I have and possess.
You have given unto me,
Now I return it.
Give me only your love, and your grace,
that’s enough for me!
—”Take, Lord, Receive,” © 1975, 1996, John Foley, SJ and OCP