I had the reflection for this week all written and ready, but I work up at 3 am with a whole new composition rolling through my head. This is that one. I believe God is calling us to move from good to righteous. >Screencast is at the end of this page<
Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God, the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ with righteous deeds at his coming, so that, gathered at his right hand, they may be worthy to possess the heavenly Kingdom, Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
A couple quick notes on definitions: resolve; resolve is defined as disposition of will, right attitude. Definitions for the word righteous include: of God’s ways and doings, just, and without prejudice or partiality.
Imagine you’re on a path, Jesus is also on the path, coming to meet you. On this path are stones. Some stones are small, some are annoying, some are bigger than you’d like, but you want the stones moved to clear the path for Jesus.
As you pick them up, you realize they are not just rocks. The stones were put there by God, the stones are opportunities. Those opportunities are righteous deeds.
If you remember from a few weeks, ago, the “so that” clause depends completely on what precedes it. To possess the heavenly kingdom depends on bringing our righteous deeds before God.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what a righteous deed is and how it is or is not the same as a good deed. We’ve all heard someone say, and often with a sarcastic tone, “I’ve done my good deed for the day,” and good deeds are often that - something we do because we’re good people.
However, righteous deeds are of God’s ways and doings. These are the opportunities God has given us to do things for him. But here’s an amazing thing about God: he gives us the opportunities for righteous deeds, he gives us the grace and the gifs to do them, and although he is glorified, he allows us to bring those deeds before His throne like they’re ours!
Another thought about the difference between good and righteous is in a quote I read long ago: Satan doesn’t care if you do a good thing, but he doesn’t want you to do a God thing.
A few years ago, I needed to make a Target run. Before I headed home, I decided to stop at the convenience store for a Diet Coke. As I stood in line, the mints caught my eye and something told me to buy mints. When I was checking out, the clerk began a conversation about how when she was little, they would go to church and she would be hungry. Her mom would always tell her to have a mint.
I replied that it was the same for me. (I was Protestant then, so mints were allowed anytime.)
Then she went on… She said that her kids have been wanting to go to church, but she’s messed up her life so bad that God probably wouldn’t want her back.
By this time, she’s crying, I’m crying, and I didn’t look back at the other people in the line. I looked at her and told her that the reason Jesus came and died was for her. I reminded her that Easter is coming, that she should take her kids to church because God is waiting for her.
Praise God for his gift of righteous deeds! That was not something I could have arranged on my own. I don’t ever buy mints. Actually, those mints stayed unopened in the bottom of my purse and every time I saw them I prayed for her. Long past their expiration date, I threw them away, and I still pray for her.
Listen close, it comes and goes very quickly in our first reading this weekend, the First Sunday of Advent (Year B): “Would that you might meet us doing right, that we might be mindful of you in our ways!” Isaiah 64:4
Lectio the Liturgy: Think back to a time when you realized that God gave you the opportunity to perform a righteous deed. Remember the joy and contentment it brought to be able to fulfill God’s plan in that situation. Ask God for the resolve, the determination to not miss every opportunity He has for us to bring His will and His love to the world.
Thank you for praying with me. May you have a blessed week,