WHAT SHALL WE DO?
(Tuesday, May 2)
Many of us might ask ourselves, particularly but not only when we reach retirement-age, What shall we do now? Is there any work for us, which actually matters? And we might doubt that *we* or our *work* can be meaningful or necessary for anyone, if we tend to slip into that kind of negative thinking. This is the question the people ask the Lord in today’s Gospel-reading: “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” (Jn 6:28) And He responds, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” It is not a very helpful response, to their minds, and perhaps to our minds, because “believing in Him” is not the type of thing we tend to regard as “work.” We might think that God needs to *work* up something special for us, perhaps some special job or role, so we might be moved to action. That’s why the people further ask, in this reading: “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Then Jesus says to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” But is that helpful for us, in practical terms? Yes, because it means we already have what and Whom we need, to get to “work”; to the kind of “work” the Lord indicated above. We can and urgently need to nourish our faith in Him, because faith or trust in Him takes work. Just like any relationship takes work, on a daily and even hourly basis. The time we are given, which may seem like an overabundance of time, if we are retired or unemployed, is not a lock but a key to our growth. It is a gift to be used for our growth in usefulness and dignity in God’s kingdom, as “redeemers of the time.”
Let me seize this precious gift as I begin this Tuesday on a beautiful morning in early May, and engage in a bit of heartfelt prayer, a bit of healthy “light reading” (the kind that brings me light), and also in some quiet minutes of contemplation. And God will show me, as I let His nourishing presence heal my perspective on things, what to do next. Time is a friend, not a foe, my friends and foes, so let us not waste it on self-centered fears or loneliness, and say (in the words of a Psalm-verse of The First Hour): “And let the brightness of the Lord our God be upon us, and the works of our hands do guide aright upon us, yea, the work of our hands do guide aright!” (Ps 89/90:19)