There are really only two ways that a person can leave his or her mark on the world – for good or for bad. In both of these cases a person will be remembered for what he or she has done; the question is, “Do you want to be remembered for your goodness or your notoriety?” Most people, deep down in the recesses of their being where they are often afraid to venture, desire to leave a mark on the world so that they will not be forgotten by the succeeding generations. Today’s first reading implies that this will be the case for most of us. However, there are some who succeed in doing something that will cause them to be remembered to future generations.

Each of us has a drive to be remembered; let us seek to harness the energy in that drive for good and not bad! Hitler and so many will be remembered for generations because the evil they committed; let us seek to do good and be remembered for that. By the way, ultimately it is unimportant if the world does not acknowledge the good we do in our lives because it is what God sees and knows about our lives that is important and he sees everything, even that which we do in secret! Yes, it might be nice to be remembered for our good deeds, but that is not essential. Knowing that God is aware of what we are doing ought to be enough acknowledgement for us.

One of the implicit dynamics of doing good is that it tends to foster more good. That is, when we make the sacrifice to choose to live a holy and righteous life, we will inspire others to do the same. This is not just a side benefit of good deeds; it is inherent in their nature. This is how a culture of goodness is developed, like being attracted to like to the point that it becomes a power to be reckoned with in the midst of all the other ‘cultures’ around us. As Christians we ought to be seeking to develop a counterculture of Christian values in the midst of the world where we live. This means not just assuming the values of the cultural milieu around us but discerning what is Christian within it and accepting it and rejecting the values that are antithetical to the Gospel. This requires constant and diligent work and attention – implying that becoming a saint will not be an easy task! It will not, but the rewards and potential influence of a saint’s life are certainly worth the effort of gaining it!

Have I ever considered how strongly I am influenced by the society in which I live; the friends I spend time with etc.? I wonder if all of these influences are doing me good?

Jesus, help me to discern the values of my society worth promoting and teach me how to bring correction to those not in line with Gospel values.