Recently, I started listening to the Catholic channel in my car. It’s been a very enjoyable experience listening to the Word daily and it does help me get a much needed positive attitude on those rougher days. A few days ago, a sermon I listened to really struck a chord. It caught my attention, not only because it discussed one of my favorite apostles/patron saints, Saint Judas Thaddeus, but because it asked a question that forced me to look deeper at myself.
My day usually feels like a video on constant replay: Wake up, kids, work, homework, activities, baths, dinner, bed. For the most part, it’s the same day in and day out. And I’m not complaining because I truly enjoy it but I’d be lying if there weren’t days when I asked myself if this is what life’s all about. There have been moments in my life where I’ve said “That’s it? That’s all God’s given me?” It doesn’t help when that little voice of jealousy comes into my head filling it with negative thoughts. It was on a day like that I heard this particular message.
It started out simple enough, by asking a question… “Are you willing to be others?” It caught my attention because, in today’s world, 99% of the population strives for fame, fortune and notoriety. And here we are being asked if we are willing to be the “others.” The ones who aren’t famous or have great monetary fortune and are totally fine with that. The people who are content with the blessings that they have been given. The people who live their lives, day in and day out, just trying to do the right thing without worry for praise or acknowledgement. They just do what they do. Now, I know that 99% of the population are not famous, aren’t millionaires, etc. The key here is the contentment of it. The idea that they are completely happy with what they have, with their lives, and don’t wish for anything other that what they’ve been blessed with. I admit, there are times I fail miserably in the contentment area and there are times I fall into the trap of I need more or I need praise for what I’ve done.
Then the radio host went on to ask how we as Christians live our lives. Do we waste it, live it, or invest it? Now the easy answer would be to live it, at least, that’s what I thought. I was wrong. Living life, though better than wasting it, isn’t investing it. And whenever we are doing something good, something truly good, like caring for our children, our spouses, our families, we are investing in our lives and in God. It may not seem like much because as mothers we do it daily without thought or consideration. It may have become routine or monotonous and the chances of us getting a “thank you” or even some form of acknowledgement is slim. Often times, our family doesn’t even realise all we do for them because it’s always done. But we are investing. We are investing in our children’s futures, in our families futures, etc. In those acts of caring for our spouse, caring for our children, we are putting our needs aside and investing in them. And in doing that, we are investing in God.
So how does this apply to Saint Judas Thaddeus? He was one of the original 12 followers of Jesus and many don’t know his name or they mistakenly associate him with Judas Iscariot the traitor. He has become an “other,” a background figure in Christianities history. And you know what? I think he’d be OK with that. Because he did what Jesus wanted him to do… he invested his life, without asking what was in it for him. He did it because it was the right thing to do. He even went on to make the ultimate investment, the sacrifice of his own life for the love of Jesus.
So even though I may still struggle with being an “other” in life, I take comfort in knowing that some of the greats in Christianity’s history are also “others.” We may not know their names but we know what they did and what they sacrificed and it’s because of those sacrifices that we have the faith we have today.