The archbishop St. Charles Borromeo once said,
“If we wish to make any progress in the service of God we must begin every day of our life with new eagerness.”
I think this quote does a great job explaining the zeal required for a Christian. In order to do the will of God it is necessary that we start again EACH AND EVERY day. This call to “new eagerness” represents growth. St. Charles is stressing the importance of continuously reflecting and asking ourselves why we are doing the things we are doing. Every action must reflect our desire to serve God.
In one of todays readings, 1 Peter 4:7-13 we are reminded about the importance of action
“The end of all things is at hand.
Therefore be serious and sober-minded
so that you will be able to pray.
Above all, let your love for one another be intense,
because love covers a multitude of sins…”
When hearing this passage this morning, I was taken a back by the word “intense.” After looking at other Bible versions, I very much enjoy this wording (other versions use words such as “deeply”, “fervent, etc.)
When I heard intense I think crazy. I think of someone so crazy they would do anything no matter the cost. I see a marine trudging through mud to get to where he or she needs to be. I see a student chugging back buckets of coffee studying their butt off through the late hours of the night. I see focus. I see desire. I most of all, see purpose.
I think something that is lacking in young Christians today is intensity. We allow Christianity to be diluted and do nothing about it. We are so worried about pleasing everybody that we forget to please Our Lord.
In today’s Gospel reading, Matthew 11:11-26 Jesus shows us exactly what he means.
As people buy and sell in the temple area, Christ overturned the tables.
He explains in fervor that this is not what the temple is meant for.
Now apply this to your life.
I encourage you today to flip the tables inside your heart. Drive out all that is not meant to be there. Any hatred? Seek forgiveness. Any fear? Seek God’s power and trust. Any shame? Seek God’s love.
At the beginning of this Gospel passage, Christ curses the fig tree.
The next day as they were leaving Bethany he was hungry.
Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf,
he went over to see if he could find anything on it.
When he reached it he found nothing but leaves;
it was not the time for figs.
And he said to it in reply, “May no one ever eat of your fruit again!”
And his disciples heard it.
I don’t know about you but I have told myself many times,
“it is not my time right now…later.”
I have chosen to hide behind my leaves and not bear fruit.
This may look like:
Going on social media instead of loving a family member.
Watching TV instead of doing service.
Sleeping in instead of working on that project.
So what must we do to change this?
Follow in the footsteps of Christ so confidently it startles the world just like Christ freaked out the money changers.
Remind yourself, bearing fruit is why you are here on this earth. Nothing else matters.
Later on the story continues,
Early in the morning, as they were walking along,
they saw the fig tree withered to its roots.
Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look!
The fig tree that you cursed has withered.”
Jesus said to them in reply, “Have faith in God.
Amen, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain,
‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’
and does not doubt in his heart
but believes that what he says will happen,
it shall be done for him.
Here Christ continues with His lesson of intensity.
He proclaims to us to have intense faith.
If we choose Christ, the impossible becomes just an average day.
Melt your doubts by taking intense action.
Pray hard, work hard, strive to live like Christ.
Go the extra mile and then run a marathon.
Keep persevering for Christ and you will be rewarded in paradise.
Let love be your fuel and intensity be your steering wheel.