Nobody Ever Earned Grace

Wis 2:23-3:9 / Lk 17:7-10

There are some passages in the scriptures that people really don’t like, and the end of today’s gospel is one of them. For those of us who work hard to do the right thing, and to be dutiful and responsible, even when it costs us a lot, it’s not very amusing to be told that we ought to count ourselves as useless servants who only did our duty! True, indeed.

But that misses the real intent of Jesus’ words, which is not to minimize our efforts or our accomplishments. Jesus’ purpose is to underscore that, no matter how terrific we are, we can never earn or merit the wonderful gifts that God wants to give us free.

So relax. God knows how hard we’re trying, even though we keep falling painfully short. He just wants us to know that in the end he desires to give us the kingdom and to give us life. And in doing that, he’s giving us a model for dealing with one another: Give what is needed, not because it’s earned, but simply because it is needed.  A share in God’s joy will be our reward.

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