25 August, Thursday — Positive Service

Aug 25 – Memorial for St. Louis of France, married man; Memorial for St. Joseph Calasanz, priest, religious founder

As king of France, Louis (1214-1270) made numerous judicial and legislative reforms. He promoted Christianity in France; established religious foundations, aided mendicant orders, propagated synodal decrees of the Church, built leper hospitals, and collected relics.

“In prosperity, give thanks to God with humility and fear lest by pride you abuse God’s benefits and so offend him.” – St. Louis IX

St. Joseph Calasanz (1556-1648) and two fellow priests opened a small, free school for poor children. He was supervising several teachers and hundreds of students. When the school moved to larger quarters, the teaching priests were reorganised into a community recognised as a religious order called Le Sciole Pie (Religious Schools), also known as the Piarists, or Scolopii or Ordo Clericorum Regularium Pauperum Matris Dei Scholarum Piarum or Order of Poor Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of the Pious Schools; Joseph acted as superior of the Order.

The community encountered many obstacles. It was dissolved, then reorganised after Joseph’s death. They were restored as a religious order in 1669, and continue their good work today.

  • Patron Saint Index

1 Cor 1:1-9
Mt 24:42-51

“Stay awake”

The gospel reading of today strikes a sense of fear within me. When I first read this, all I could think of was, “What happens if I were caught napping? What would happen if Jesus returned today, and I was not ready for Him?”

I served my National Service as a clerk, having been ‘downgraded’ into a lower fitness category due to an injury. Although I worked on computers, my unit started an experiment where the clerks had to do guard duties, patrolling the grounds and ensuring only authorised persons were in the area. 

Once every hour, we walked a certain path, logging our progress along the way. Once, because it was raining heavily, the officer-in-charge dispensed with the walk. We were joking then that all our enemies had to do was to choose to attack on a rainy night.

It was funny then, only it is not; what if the threats were real, and the safety of everyone in the camp depended on us being alert?

Jesus talked about the dishonest servant, whose focus is on himself — what advantages they could have in the master’s absence. When I talked about feeling fear, it is the fear of me being a ‘dishonest servant’. 

In preparing for this reflection, however, rather than being ‘dishonest servants’, it is my belief that we need to see ourselves as ‘faithful stewards’. Rather than being concerned about being caught not performing our duties, we should look at doing our roles the best we can… out of love for the master, or, in my story of my rained-out guard duty, the country.

As Christians, we need to be ready for our Lord, not because we are afraid. Instead, we need to be motivated by our love for Him. 

Understanding this passage positively will better place us in our service and wait for our God!

(Today’s OXYGEN by Paul Wee)

Prayer: Lord, please help us to expect Your return positively. Help us to serve You from a position of service and love, rather than a fear of getting caught not doing our duties.

Thanksgiving: Thank You Father, for gifting us with eternal life, and for teaching us how to better serve You!

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