|One of the most frustrating things about raising teenagers is their sometimes complete and utter obliviousness to things that are right in front of them. They don’t see the shoes that you trip over at the front door, the dirty dishes that have piled up in front of them, or the wet towels on the bathroom floor. And once these things are pointed out to them they shrug it off and let you know they will tend to it when they aren’t so busy. This desire for our children to be positive contributing members of the household doesn’t just stem from the desire for a clean home, but because we know that soon our children will be gone and we want them to do the right thing even when we aren’t around, when no one is watching. This is exactly the message Jesus is teaching his disciples in today’s gospel. Jesus wants us to be attentive and alert so we will take responsibility for putting good out in the world.
Being ready and alert isn’t about being hyper vigilant and defensive, ready to pounce at a moment’s notice. Rather being alert means opening our minds and hearts to God’s grace and mercy. It means noticing the gifts that are inherent in our daily lives so we can be fully present. With this open arms stance we can fully appreciate God’s presence. And once we live in this state of awareness we can’t help but act.
Jesus used a bit of fire and brimstone to get his point across, but I believe the message is a simple loving one, use your gifts, no matter how large or small to help create love and harmony in the world. Uncle Ben from Spider-Man had it right when he told Peter Parker: “With great power comes great responsibility.” I can think of no greater power that we have been given than our ability to love, let’s use it as God intended.