November 8, 2011 - Tuesday of the Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

Today's Readings

Jesus really gets us with how contradictory we are. True, we do not have slaves, but we live in a service culture. When I go to McDonald’s, I am not grateful that the cashier takes my order. When I go to the grocery store, I am not grateful that the clerk checks out my groceries. When I go to the bank, I am not grateful that the teller gives me money. So why would I expect God to be grateful when I do my job?

Jesus says that we are obligated to follow the commandments. We owe it to God. Why? Whose oxygen are we breathing? Whose water are we drinking? Whose planet are we standing on? What is the value of everything God has given me? We are getting paid; we should do our jobs.

What is our job exactly? To obey the commandments. Which commandments? Well, Jesus simplified that. He took it down to just one commandment: love. Love God above all, and love other people the way that Jesus loves me. If I spend 8 hours loving, should God be grateful and give me the rest of the day off? No! I am an unprofitable slave. Nothing I do does God any good. A human boss ought to thank their employees since the business profits by their work, but what profit does God have because I obey his commandments? None.

Indeed, we are getting the best possible deal. We were made to love. It is the purpose of our existence. Getting paid to love is like getting paid to eat or breathe. If I put in an 8 hour shift loving God above all and other people the way that Jesus did, I am the one better off at the end.

So why is it that we see God’s commandments as this burden? It is because of the lies of Satan. It is written in our first reading today that “By the envy of the Devil, death entered the world.” Satan is jealous of this arrangement we have with God where he gives us everything and then demands nothing in return except love. So the Devil whispers in our ears lies about how we hate helping other people and we hate praying, about how we are too busy for such things. He whispers anxieties and worries and then makes us think that we thought of the lies ourselves. If anyone ever tells you, if you even seem to tell yourself, that you don’t want to love, don’t believe it.