Tuesday, November 14, 2006

32nd Tuesday in Ordinary Time (II)
Behavior & Disposition

Readings: Titus 2:1-8, 11-14; Psalm 37:3-4, 18 and 23, 27 and 29; Luke 17:7-10


It is for you to preach the behaviour that goes with healthy doctrine, says Paul to Titus, in the first reading. And, indeed, it is important for us to examine ourselves to see how our behaviour compares with the conduct that Paul describes as becoming of Christians. Even so, there’s an added dimension to today’s readings that we must not neglect if we are to find the strength and inspiration with which to heed Paul’s admonitions. More than just proposing a set of acceptable behaviours for Christians, the readings also describe the kind of disposition that facilitates such behaviours. Three characteristics stand out.

First, cultivate the right ambition. In this regard, Paul tells Titus to have no ambition except to do good. Quite a remarkable and counter-cultural aspiration, especially in our go-getting and rat-racing society. Jesus goes even further in the gospel. More than simply doing good, he tells his disciples to cultivate an attitude of dutiful service that seeks no reward for one’s trouble except, perhaps, that of knowing one is doing God’s will (to paraphrase a prayer of St. Ignatius Loyola). And, in case doubts arise as to the feasibility and practicality of such attitudes, the psalm provides us with both direction and encouragement by reminding us: If you trust in the Lord and do good, then you will live in the land and be secure. If you find your delight in the Lord, he will grant your heart’s desire.

As we face the challenges this day brings, perhaps we might consider: How do we behave? What is our disposition? In whom do we place our trust?

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