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The Transactional Christian

At the beginning of the financial year all of us in the organization have to set our goals and objectives that we have to achieve that year. Our promotions, salary hikes and bonus is all based on the goals and objectives we have achieved. If we have only met the expectations, then we do not get a good hike or bonus and this affects the employees and being disgruntled they leave the team or the company. This year I told my team to look beyond the transactional goal and to set transformational goals if they needed to be promoted.

We are like this in our spiritual life as well. We are very transactional when it comes to spending time with God. Most of us are contend with going to church on Sundays and have nothing to do with God or church on other days. We certainly go with a laundry list to be fulfilled when we go to church. When our prayers are not granted we become disgruntled and blame God for not heeding our requests and stop going to church all together. We want all our requests to be granted immediately but are not willing to spend time with God.

We make sure to reach the places we like to visit like a movie theater, mall or a party well ahead of time. But we ensure we reach church just when the mass begins or sometimes we walk in after the scriptures readings and miss hearing the word of God. We grumble and look at our watch if the priest extends his sermon or the mass. We have all the time in the world to chat with friends and family, watch TV etc. But we do not have time to spend with God. On the contrary when it comes to granting our prayer requests we expect instant miracles and often turn away from God saying there is no God. We do not take time to discern the will of God in our lives and we want to live as per our will. We take drastic steps and take to drinking and drugs and to the extreme of taking our lives when our will is not implemented in our lives.

We are often like the rich man who came to Jesus and asked the question, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” (Mathew 19:16). Jesus tells him to keep the commandments. And when the rich man says he follows the commandments and still lacks something, Jesus asks him to sell everything he has and to follow Jesus.

We too are transactional and use a check list to ensure that we are good Christians. How do we go on from being a transactional Christian to a transformational one? We have a great example in Zacchaeus who was a tax collector and considered a sinner; his encounter with Jesus transformed his life. Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold” (Luke 19:8).

For us to lead a transformed life we must encounter Jesus and we have an opportunity everyday to encounter Jesus in the Holy Mass, reading the word of God and spending time in front of the Blessed Sacrament and meditating on the word of God. We must find time to spend with God. Then we will see miracles taking place in our lives. We will be able to discern the will of God and live as per His will. We will see the Lord strengthening us through his Spirit to face the challenges of life so that we may not turn to drugs and alcohol but find solace in the Lord alone.

Katheline Thathamangalam

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