Reflections for the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Feb 10, 2017

We have to always remember that we are Christians

As men and women living in this world, it is inevitable that whenever we find ourselves in a social group, or organized community, we will experience conflict and tension. If we remain close to the Lord Jesus, and to His words, we will know how to avoid them. However, if we don’t have an intimate relationship with God, though we may go to church, there is the possibility for us to become hypocritical and vindictive. The man that God created is a complex and complicated being that is capable of maliciousness if he does not continuously evaluate his relationship with God. Pride and selfishness can lead us to destructive behaviors to the point that we think that we are the only ones who have talents and who are intelligent. But this is an illusion coming from an inability to see properly because pride blinds us. It does not matter if we go to church, we will always display an attitude of selfishness and wickedness especially if we allow ourselves to be governed by pride. For unknown reasons, some people think that titles, responsibilities and being in charge of something will give them some power to the point that they really believe that they are superior to others. If they have not been able to walk in the path of humility, following the Lord on the cross, they will strike you from the back to maintain an illusion of power which they judge they need to have in their lives. It is one thing to have the ambition to succeed in this life; however we must be mature and wise so that we don’t spend our lives clinging to titles that will not give us access to God’s Kingdom. We have to learn how to surrender ourselves to God so that we don’t terminate our lives having attitudes aiming at fighting for things that are not essential.

It means that if we have not put in the time and effort as we mature to become responsible and successful adults, we cannot just take the success from others later through malice.  We have to understand that if it is too late, we must accept life the way it is and offer our dissatisfaction to the Lord; He will give us peace. We should not spend our lives in anger and madness toward others. When we are angry, it is easy for us to discredit another person’s personality because we want to be right. But, while we are still alive, this is a time for wisdom and to be a role model so that others can learn from us. This is the reason why it is important to have a relationship with God through prayer, devotion and humility. If we really take the time to pray, and to be governed by the Holy Spirit, we will never choose to harm another person so that we can satisfy our temptations and our passions. Unfortunately, since some people choose to give importance to social rank in this world, there will always be occasions when they will strike you from the back. Though we come to church, sometimes we fail to let the words of God penetrate our hearts. When we fail to listen to Jesus and change our hearts, it is easy for us to walk with the enemy.  If we are in a difficult situation, we need guard against the temptation to harm another person. The reality is this: how can we have our conscience clean in front of God? It is not through division that we will fill our churches and our communities. Love, sincerity, unity and hospitality will be the virtues we need to practice in order to bring more people to our parishes. It is the task of everyone and not only the priest. We should do our best to be true to everyone who comes to our doors. Sometimes we develop attitudes of rejection and negativity especially when we have not yet met the Lord in our lives and, even though we want to be acknowledged for the many things we have done, there is a disconnection with the words of God we hear and the testimony we need to give. These are evidence of selfishness and pride that need to be taken care of through prayers, fasting, penance and possibly counseling.

Only God has the real and the true power: He is the one who can give life and He is the one who can take it away from us. The reality is that God has no place in those kinds of decisions we sometimes make which harm others. Where is the compassion that we are advocating for, when we fail to be honest with others, when we demonstrate our lack of charity and our inability to be compassionate people? We should never only see one side of the situation we must also look at the entire picture of the matter. We should never forget that we are Christians and if we are following God, we must use charity in everything we do. It means that we must always follow the evangelical counsels on a daily basis. But if we come to church and the same time we have prejudices toward another person, though we have the same Father, how can our prayers be heard and how can we receive blessings from God? So, there is a need for us to be coherent and transparent. If we want to serve in the Church of the Lord, there should not be room for prejudices, betrayal and hypocrisy. It means that we have not yet been able to understand the spirit of sacrifice that we all need to have in entering the Church. We must always remember that whether we work in the parish or volunteer, our primary desire must be to serve God. It means that if we are in positions of authority, it should not be used as a way to show others that we have influence or to try to impress others because we have done this or that for the parish. If we have done something in the parish, it is essential that we make the efforts to reach a level of spiritual maturity where we understand that we have done it for the Glory of the Lord. Once we have done it to glorify the Lord, we should not use any trumpet to display our ego.

The devil in its temptations cannot bring peace to us and it will never be able to satisfy our passions. This is the reason why Jesus tells us: “If a man wishes to come after me, he must deny his very self, take up his cross and begin to follow in my footsteps. Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would a man show if he were to gain the whole world and destroy himself in the process?” (Mt. 16, 24-26). So, when we come to celebrate the Mass, we come to worship the Lord so that we may receive His blessings for ourselves, for our families and for those who are living in difficulties of all sorts. Faith is necessary to understand that the priest is the messenger of God and through him the Lord brings us the gift of the Eucharist from which we find strength and hope. If he is preaching the truth of the Gospel we should support him because Jesus himself says: He who hears you, hears me. He who rejects you, rejects me. And he who rejects me, rejects Him who sent me (Lk 10, 16). We should not see the priest as someone who impedes us from having something in this world. Everything is passing by. Today we are here, tomorrow we are not. However, we must learn how to be patient so that we wait for the time of the Lord and not ours. If we remember that in everything we do, we will live in peace with everyone.

--Fr. Jospeh