If we recall last week’s reflection then the lesson of this Sunday’s readings will give a real boost to our efforts to take hold of eternal life and the fighting of the good fight.

Even though we are able to have a taste of seeing God face to face here on earth we are not excused or exempt from the day-to-day difficulties of living a Gospel faith in our contemporary world. Sometimes it can be really depressing and discouraging.

OUR OLD TESTAMENT READING [HABAKKUK 1: 2 – 3; 2: 2 – 4] says it all: “you make me see wrongs and look upon trouble… strife and contention arise.” Yet we never forget that it is only “those whose soul is not upright (who) fail …. the righteous shall live by his faith.” The word righteous must also take us back to last Sunday’s reflection when we saw Paul define righteousness in terms of“godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, (and) gentleness.” These are the things we have to take hold of.

The prophet however assures us that

“still the vision awaits its time; it hastens to the end – it will not lie.” We all need to this fact and be reminded, as TODAY’S PSALM [95 or 94] tells us, that our Christian God IS “the rock who saves us.”This is another fact of faith we must take hold of. In all of this remember the challenge of Habakkuk – we have to live by (our) faith.

The destiny in which we all share is to see our living and loving God face to face and to fully know him – person to person

. This is what we call Heaven. It is indeed the vision which awaits its time …. it is not a lie. However, it hastens to the end. We need to hasten ourselves along with him who, as our Psalm tells us, leads us by the hand because we belong to him. We belong to him now – we do not have to wait until we manage to ‘get into heaven’. Christian faith, discipleship and living requires more of and from us than simply limping along, cutting the corners we feel we are able to get away with, and eventually managing, by hook or crook, to ‘get into Heaven’.

Here is where we need to reflect on and apply

TODAY’S GOSPEL [LUKE 17: 5 – 10] to our ongoing efforts in the present to take hold of eternal life and to fight the good fight {remember last week’s reflection?} on a daily basis. In the same way as the servants in this Gospel we are simply called to work through our ordinary daily living because this is what we have been called to do. This is what is expected of us. We should stop seeing ‘heaven’ as a reward, our ‘thank you’ from God for being good. Rather it is our destiny – the vision which awaits its time and hastens to the end. It is not the carrot at the end of the stick. We do not earn heaven. Jesus is not obliged to reward us. Also, do not forget that the servants see and are with their Master while they are doing the job.

This is why in

TODAY’S NEW TESTAMENT EXTRACT [2 TIMOTHY 1: 6 – 8. 13 – 14] Saint Paul reminds us “to rekindle the gift of God that is within you.” Again we need to recall last week’s reflection because the gift that is within us is the GIFT THAT WE HAVE BEEN CALLED – called to the vision which awaits its time …. (which) is not a lie (and) hastens to the end.

In addition as we respond to this call we need, on a daily basis, to remind ourselves that

“God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control.” Yes, indeed we are unworthy of the call, and all we should achieve is to do our duty. However, we have the ability and the power to achieve this. Are we too timid to “follow the pattern which you have heard” and “listen to his voice” day-by-day? We allow our hearts to harden against ourselves and throw in the towel too easily. Then, we end up settling for the minimum and the mediocre.

WE ARE CALLED TO SOMETHING MUCH GREATER AND RICHER

. We are called to intimacy with God-in-Christ, the one who lives in us. Unfortunately our God is more intimate with us than we are with him. We must learn to be intimate, personal, with our God, and search for understanding. This cannot be done if we are timid with him.

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