Skip to main content

I am your servant

Isaiah the Prophet
The LORD called me from birth,
from my mother's womb he gave me my name.
He made of me a sharp-edged sword
and concealed me in the shadow of his arm.
He made me a polished arrow,
in his quiver he hid me.
You are my servant, he said to me,
Israel, through whom I show my glory.

Though I thought I had toiled in vain,

and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength,
Yet my reward is with the LORD,
my recompense is with my God.
Isaiah 49

The Gospel is compelling today - no doubt about it.  It's about betrayal and hope, and fortitude of Christ to finish what must be done.  But it's the first reading from today's Mass that grabs my heart.

Anyone who knows me knows I am a big-mouthed, big-hearted Irish girl who doesn't like to to be wrong, and doesn't want to take "no" when "yes" is the only acceptable answer.  This doesn't always serve me well, but in terms of raising my kids - all of whom have special needs and challenges - it's been a blessing.  I had to be the "polished arrow" in their lives, a two-edged sword to make sure they got, and get, exactly what they need.

Unfortunately, it often seems in vain.  You know that feeling, don't you:  "I've done everything right, Jesus!  Why is everything so very wrong??"  We want a reward, even if it's only pat on the back or an acknowledgement of hard we've worked.  We've done all the right stuff, and all the wrong stuff lays at our feet.  We've toiled, as Isaiah says, seemingly in vain.

But read just one more line:  "My reward is with the Lord."  Waiting for the pat on the back?  You'll get it;  just not in this world.  Waiting to see how all your hard work, all your swinging of the sword plays out?  Okay, just be patient.

I know that's not the answer we want, but there is such a huge promise here.  Remember that Gospel story, in Matthew?  His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ 

Holy Week is hard, but we do not toil in vain.  Let us hope that on Easter Sunday, we can celebrate with the true joy of good and faithful servants, having spent our strength to be with Christ richly in prayer and sacrifice this week.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Secret Santa!!

Too old for Santa? I think not.

Yes, there are discussions as to whether we should "lie" to kids and tell them that Santa brings them gifts vs. We can't lie to the kids; it's wrong.

There is also the "Christmas is about Jesus" vs. "But Santa is magical!"

You know, we have so few magical and joyful moments, and less and less as we get older. Santa is fun. And the kids usually figure it out, and no one I know was ever scarred for life for believing that Santa brought them and every child everywhere a toy for Christmas.

It's the magic of looking up at the sky on a clear December night, thinking "I'll wait up to see Santa" and later, as you fell asleep at the window, being in your daddy's arms as he carries you to bed.

It's the magic of putting out cookies and milk (or beer, because Santa does like beer) and maybe some carrots for the reindeer, and then checking in the morning to make sure the food was all consumed.

It's…

Advent Brokenness

It was a lovely May evening, the kind we in Michigan savor like honey. After the brutal cold of winter, flowers blossomed, grass greened, mosquitoes flocked. School was almost done for the year - just the formalities of 8th grade graduation were ahead.

Why not saddle up the horse and go for a ride? Why not, indeed. So my sister and I did. I took Prince out across the road from our house, to romp through the weeds on a path my father mowed for us. The view from horseback on a spring night - well, nearly Heaven.

Until Prince bolted. He spooked. I fell. And my arm broke. Compound fracture.

My dog, a collie, had followed us out. He was not particularly trusting of Prince, as Prince would never allow himself to be herded, and this vexed my collie. My dog, channeling his inner Lassie, ran home without me.

My sister had been in the yard with her boyfriend at the time, Gary, waiting for me to come back. Instead, it was just the dog loping across the road. That didn't seem right, so my si…