Saturday, August 27, 2016

PROMOTION AND BEING PROMOTED



MY PERSONAL REFLECTION THIS SUNDAY 22nd  Sunday in ordinary time.

The gospel reading for today is taken from Luke 14:1-7; 14.  Many commentators have explained the need for humility and how our Lord taught us the importance of being humble.  But in this reading I would like to reflect on one dimension that sometimes failed to get the attention of our pastors.  In verse 14 it says, “Then he said to the host who invited him, “When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”  This verse calls for action with a futuristic end.  It says “for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”  How many of our pastors today still speaks about the resurrection?  About the future life?  Are our pastors directing us towards this end-time goal?  I seldom hear our pastors today speaks about sin, about hell and about heaven.  This tendency is even reflected in the way we conduct our liturgy.  At the end of the liturgy there is a long list of acknowledgement, thanking the servers, the choirs, the lectors and commentators for what they have done for the people of God during the Mass.  Have we forgotten, what our Lord said, “blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.
For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous”.  If we received acknowledgement for what we did today, we shall no longer be repaid in heaven because we have received our wages on earth.  If your right hand does something good, do not let the left hand know that your right hand is doing.  For your Father in heaven will reward you.  But if today you received your acclaim, then you have already received your reward.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The enigma of Christ

TO SET THE WORLD ABLAZE


My dear friends and followers of the Way, allow me to share with you some of my reflections on the gospel reading this Sunday.  The gospel reading is taken from Luke 12:49-53.  Jesus said, to quote a verse from the passage,
“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!  Do you think that I have come to establish peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.”
People who are not familiar with the way Jesus taught will wonder why our Lord spoke to us in parables and riddles.  Some of these parables seem paradoxical.  If we read the passage above, it would give us the impression that Christ was promoting violence.  But far from it, Jesus is the prince of peace.  Matthew Henry’s commentary on this passage helped me understand the meaning of this text.  The teachings of Christ and His message is about love, deliverance and redemption and there is a need for the gospel to be preached around the world.  But he said that this process would bring division.  Why division instead of unity?  The answer is simple, - the gospel of Christ or His message is about the goodness of God, his redemptive plan for humankind.  But not all humans can accept the teachings of Christ nor the offer of salvation and redemption, because of the sins of pride and lusts.  Thus some people may find the grace to believe in the teachings of Christ but perhaps others may not.  Hence there will be division.  Why was Christ anxious that it be accomplished?  Here Christ spoke of his baptism, meaning his death on the cross.  His death on the cross will seal the ultimate plan of God for the redemption of humankind.  Once this is accomplished, then the gospel will be preached worldwide and it will set the earth ablaze (figuratively).  This is because, the message of Christianity is revolutionary.  It aims to subvert and undermine the values of this world, its sins, its pride and way of life.  Thus in this dark world, as Christians we are supposed to be the light of the world.  In a world that has lost love and compassion we are supposed to be the salt of the earth, to give it flavor.  Are we ready to set the world ablaze with the message of Christ? The challenged is there for the taking.