More Will Be Demanded

August 11, 2019

What more can they ask for?  What more do they want?   Ever feel that way?  Sometimes that happens in the workplace.  When expectations are given, sometimes our response is one of becoming defensive.  Sometimes it causes us to say we are already doing enough.  I can remember the morning the Bishop called while they were at the Bishop’s Conference.  He wanted me to move from my position as a committee member to become the chairperson of the committee as Bishop Siegel was going to have to vacate the position when he was lifted up to take on his own diocese.   My first thought to myself was, am I not doing enough?   In the end, because it was the Bishop asking and because I value seminarian education, I responded affirmatively to the request.  Going the extra mile is not always easy.  It means extra hours work.  It demands sacrifice.  I now go to more meetings at the diocese than I did for the last ten years combined.  It is necessary and the importance of the mission outweighs the cost of the sacrifice.

It is in this place that we are invited to embrace the demands of God.  When we see the bigger picture, when we come to realize the greater need of what God is asking of us, the sacrifice not only has meaning, but it also has conviction.  God is demanding much of all of us.  Jesus Himself suffered and died on the cross—the ultimate sacrifice, going the ultimate extra mile for the salvation of the world.  When we keep our eyes fixed on the purpose of the mission, we are more willing to turn the demand or sacrifice into a passion and energy.  How often when we believe in the dream or the potential of the outcome, we dig in deeper to get it accomplished?  Jesus is asking us to dig deeper into the things that matter to the Kingdom of God.  Today’s Gospel is not meant to make us defensive or make us question what more can we give.  It is a Gospel of opportunity, one that says true joy will come when we are all in.  True joy will be our companion when we see the demands as stepping stones to holiness.

Reverend  John J. Ouper