A scholarly attempt at an interpretation of Sunday's liturgical readings.

Sometimes when people apply for a job, several offers present themselves that seem to be rather appealing.  How to choose?  Apart from the salary issue, two questions come to mind.  Does the job suit me and my talents?  If I get the job, how will I get along with others?

In today’s Gospel (Matt. 6:24-34), Jesus offers his disciples a choice,  but with an imperative caveat.  You cannot serve more than one boss.  Total service to one “master” is required , which makes probable the opportunities allowing job talents to develop, because of minimal distractions.

In terms of getting along with others, Jesus offers some recommendations.  First, if one wants to be a disciple of Jesus, there should be no worry about the self. Worrying about the self can be bewildering.  The dedication to be a disciple must be total.  The birds and the flowers do not worry about how they look.  They could easily outshine in splendor what you would see on PBS Nature programs.  Secondly, people are more important than animals or plants.  God who generally takes care of animals and plants will take care of people who are totally dedicated to the work of Jesus.  After all, people were created in the image and likeness of God.

What is needed, above all, is the specificity of the choice.  One must first seek the welfare of others and then other things will follow.  Offering service to others (justice, compassion, understanding, forgiveness) not only fulfills the work of Jesus, but also makes possible a positive interaction with those who are helped.

Simply put, we are being challenged by Jesus to be an “effective” disciple, that is, a “participant” in his work and not just an “observer.”  We should not be deviated from that task by consumerism (or “mammon” as the biblical text puts it), but be totally dedicated to the service of others.  We should not be overly concerned about material things because we have been created in God’s image and likeness.

It takes faith to be supportive of this position.  But once we believe that we must serve Jesus alone, not be overly concerned about material things, and to be of service to others, then the likelihood exists that we can be effective disciples of Jesus.  From a spiritual point of view, wouldn’t this be a good way to find a better job?

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