We expect so much for free, even when we do deserve it. We expect to be rewarded for what we do. That is fine when discussing the dignity of work and workers but not when discussing our vocation. The brothers, physicians and healers, are known as "unmercinary" physicians because they took no payment for their healing services. They gave freely not out of human generosity but from the gift of healing that they had received. It is this sharing of gifts, of recognizing the nature of "gift" that drove their ministry. When we think about vocation, we should see it in light of the gifts we have received. That is to say, like Cosmas and Damien, we recognize our strengths as gifts given to bring Christ to the world and then share them freely. They are not "ours" but have been given to us, meaning that they are our gift to others.
We want for free but we refuse to give for free. That is the lesson of humility we must learn, one that the brothers can teach us. We can hear that our gifts are for the glory of God reflected in the First Reading today:
King Darius issued an order to the officials of West-of-Euphrates:
"Let the governor and the elders of the Jews continue the work on that house of God; they are to rebuild it on its former site.
I also issue this decree concerning your dealing with these elders of the Jews in the rebuilding of that house of God:
From the royal revenue, the taxes of West-of-Euphrates, let these men be repaid for their expenses, in full and without delay.
I, Darius, have issued this decree; let it be carefully executed."
-- Ezra 6:7-8, 12b
Things to Think About