Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)
Man cannot be defined solely and simply according to his physical and temporal qualities simply because they are visible, but particularly and especially according to his origin, his purpose and his destiny. He is not merely a being of flesh and blood, but of spirit, intellect and will as well. In this sense, we learn from our readings today the following:
1. God opens man’s ears (1st reading) so that man may listen to Him, and man is also given the gift of speech that in gratitude he may proclaim the greatness of his creator. Deviation from this purpose and plan of God is abuse and rebellion against Him, the Creator.
2. Man is a created being who suffers, not to be defeated and die, but to mold his personality in fortitude and patience, and so be strong despite his weakness and conquer evil with the strength of Christ, who suffered and died for the salvation to all. Thus, suffering does not have to be a lonely and cruel consequence of man’s actions, but a human experience with others who are also suffering in many different ways and an experience with the whole Church whose head is Christ Himself who suffered and died to give life to all.
3. At all times God is the help of man in whom God always manifests His presence. God is man’s rock of salvation and light in darkness. God is the Shepherd who leads man, the sheep, to green pastures and heals man’s wounds that this world inflicts. God is man’s hope, for without hope man sinks into depression amid the world’s harsh and cruel situations.
The person and the Christian in man cannot walk different ways, and when it does, as many times it does, it causes problems in life. That is why in society we have the greedy (people) who simply satisfy themselves without regard for others. We have people who rob and kill to eliminate those who inconvenience them and who believe they have the right to have what they impulsively like. We have the proud and the arrogant who think they are better than others, and belittle them. We have those who do not respect the life and property of others, especially of the weak and the voiceless, people who hoard wealth without regard if what they do is moral or not, people who hide the truth to avoid reproach and for the sake of convenience. We have couples who cheat on each other for the sake of pleasure and adventure. We have people who drown themselves in prohibited substances and alcohol to run away from responsibilities and problems. We have businessmen who care only about steep profits and fancy properties, but care less about the importance of relationships and the family. And there are those who care less about the dignity of work, and so become a problem to society, and live indolently with disposables, including morality and the reality of God’s presence.
In Jesus we see man in perfection. He carried out His mission by constantly listening to God, by making His suffering the way of salvation for all, by making His presence the sign of God’s infinite love for all. In the face of death, Jesus continued to trust in God who assisted Him in the time of trial and made Him rise from the dead. In His teachings He always proclaimed the truth even if He had to face torture and death. In Jesus we see a consistency of His faith and His deeds.
We are called not only to be consistent, and God knows that we always fail and fall, but most especially to be faithful to Jesus, who was made perfect through suffering and who does not fail to assist anyone who approaches Him in his need. God’s call to fidelity is our way to holiness.
We listen to Jesus in Holy Scriptures and in the celebration of the Sacraments especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation for we seek God’s mercy and healing, and the Sacrament of the Eucharist, because His Word is His work for our joy and for our salvation. We find Jesus in our families and in the Church, for He is the manifestation of the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, as well as the reason and vision for the life of the Church and our community. We find Jesus in our respect for life, in our search for truth and in our expressions of love, for He is life, he is the truth and our way to the Father. We make alive the presence of Jesus in our responsibilities and in our relationships, for He is the reason for who we are and what we do. With Peter we proclaim, “You are the Christ.”
Let us be faithful to our families and conscientious of our responsibilities, and the Lord will be our ever faithful Companion. Let every action of ours be an expression of our faith and hope in Him for He is the Christ.