What Good Is It?

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Let us begin with a story: A man and woman, very distraught and discouraged about today’s problems, walk into a store and see Jesus Christ standing behind the sales counter. As they look for something to lift their spirits, Jesus suggests they make a list of what they want to buy. They list peace, hope, and love for the world.

In return, Jesus gives them a packet of seeds as well as the equipment and instructions to make them grow. He explains that to have peace, hope, and love grow in the world, they have to work the seeds and tend to them daily so nothing will impede their growth. The man and woman left the store, buying nothing.

To paraphrase a passage from the letter of St. James, what good is it if someone says he or she has faith, but does not have works? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and we say to them—go in peace, keep warm and eat well, but we do not give them the necessities, what good is it? (James 2:14-16). We can say we want peace, hope, and love for the world, but if we do not put in the effort, what good is it?

Good from God

The good comes when we seek first the Kingdom of God and all His righteousness, enabling us to receive the graces we need to live according to God’s instructions—God’s plan. When we live life for God’s sake, when we proclaim the greatness of God, we proclaim the greatness of God’s love in all that we say and do even in our most ordinary tasks. St. Teresa of Avila once said: “Our Lord is moving among the pots and pans.”

Consider the story of Martha and Mary. Mary sat and listened to Jesus speak while Martha did all the serving. Martha complained that Mary was not helping her. Perhaps Martha would not have gotten upset if she saw her work as an act of love for God. Each us has a unique offering of love in terms of our careers, home life, and relationships because each of us is unique by God’s design.

Peace, Hope, and Love

Practicing the presence of God—the presence of love—gives meaning and purpose to all the events and circumstances in our daily lives. As a result, our very being begins to change. We find that our faith becomes more active in every aspect of our living. An inner peace takes over in good days and bad, enabling us to say, “Ok Lord, let it be done to me according to Your will because You love me and I love you.”

With that peace and the essence of God’s love, we have a hope in our hearts that does not dissipate even in our most difficult hour. Good works replace sinful acts, selflessness overcomes selfishness, and by the grace of God, we become His living instruments that spread peace, hope, and love in the world.

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