A Hand on the Plough
Not looking back, forging ahead.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.
In this verse and surrounding passage we find Jesus was calling us to radically prioritise and re-orient our life to His kingdom and His will. It was to depart from our own ideas of how we should live life, how we would sustain life (paying the bills) and who our life is focused on. His promise was that if we did this He would look after everything we need.
To enter the Religious and Clerical life one must take this call to heart - especially seeking first His kingdom. But those words were not just for the Priest or Sister - it was for all of us.
Jesus in a similar vain spoke about the cost of entering this kingdom saying;
“No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62.
A life with God is not one we can do half-heartedly, it doesn’t matter which vocation in the Church we fill. It doesn’t matter our levels of intelligence, or types of personality. Whether we work in an office or a school or a Brother in a Monastery - we are all called to give our life to Jesus.
As laity we can get the impression it easier to do this if you are a Priest - it’s their job isn’t? But a vocation is more than a job, God is not in a box - He is not separate from the world, how can He be when he upholds and sustains it? The idea that our faith life has no place in the world of workplace, or family life or any other public sphere is an old enlightenment idea that we need to debunk and put to death. We cannot take the faith part out of us, it forms our very being and our choices. The words of Jesus were never meant to be nice religious platitudes for cozy Sunday Masses - they were radical and subversive designed to upend human frameworks. Life was about Him and He wants all of his Church to shine bright in the world and not hide it. This doesn’t mean your talking about Jesus all the time, but it could mean praying for decisions you make at work. It could be asking yourself, what is the Catholic response to this person or situation? Am I abiding in faith, hope and charity to my colleagues? Furthermore have I taken the words of St Paul seriously:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24
As Catholics let us be known as great workers, with great integrity and character. Lets not get involved in office gossip or back-biting.
All of these things are part of our vocation as Catholics in the world. But another equally important task is sharing our faith verbally. The Church has been sent out as a missionary - that encompasses everything from SCIAF to quiet chats with workmates about why you go to Mass. It is not just the role of the Missionary Priest to share the gospel, it is all of ours. We are all one Church, one Body with one Spirit who gives a multitude of gifts - in this way we are all Priests of the Lord.
Following this sort of lifestyle is tough and will require you to trust God with your life, even your bank balance. Could it be that He wants you to move somewhere else? Or that well-paying job you have is actually preventing you living the life God has for you? These can be hard choices to make but God promises that if you seek Him first, He will look after all your needs.
We are now entering the school holiday period which may not be relevant to you but is certainly very relevant to me. I am guessing by week 3 of the holidays I will hear the words; ‘i’m bored!’ emanating from my 12yr old. Of course many of you might be off on your holidays as well so therefore I think it might be good for St Moluag to have a break to. He will take his Coracle and be away from your inboxes until Friday 19th August.
Have a blessed Summer.