Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
Society teaches us that entertainment is the goal of life. We work hard to earn money and retire; and we have to earn so much to retire in a plush environment. We get the best life insurance company so that when we die we get a good funeral/burial service, and so that our bereaved families will enjoy the benefits. We work hard to earn more and save, so that when we get older, we can go and see places. We get the best health insurance company so we can be wild with life now, and be covered when we get sick later. We limit our families to one or two children to get pleasure from the conveniences of life. We spend so much time watching television and surfing the net with the thought that without them we might be left behind by technology and development in the world. But everyday technology is getting faster and farther from us, while human development is lagging behind us. Yes, we amuse ourselves with the minor and less important activities than the more important endeavors that lead us to more important human relationships and to the things of Heaven.
Many of us prepare for the future according to the dictates of products advertised by the media, and we program our minds and bodies according to their effects on us. So, the feeling of restlessness, discontent and emptiness upsets us, because we have made consumerism our goal. We have abandoned Christian tradition and teaching that leads us to seek the things of heaven, for where our treasure is, there also will our heart be (Lk 12:34). We also have abandoned common sensibility and have given the world the power to use us for its temporal designs, instead of using the things of this world for the good of all for the greater glory of God.
One of the frequent faults that we commit in our relationship with God and with others is presumption. We presume too much that we are the master of our life, the center of the world and the end of creation. We forget that God is our origin, the center of our life and our destiny.
How can we prepare for the coming of the Master? Opportunities come only once, maybe twice. So:
– Be responsible stewards of time. It is said that time is gold; and it is expensive, too. Surely, time is a limited resource, as we have only so much of it in our lifetime. Plan ahead so that you have enough time for prayer, for reflection on life and on the Scriptures, for the celebration of the Sacraments with the community, for an unhurried meal and relaxing moments with your family, and for wholesome entertainment with friends.
– Be reliable in your decisions and in your responsibilities. Consistency in living an upright life and dependability in responsibilities rest on your capacity to be reliable in good decisions and accountable in responsibilities.
– Be accountable for the things that you have, not only material things, which moth and rust damage, but also of virtues, talents, and opportunities. The use and development of these things promote the good of others, as well as the advancement of the glory to God.
– Be faithful and selfless disciples and servants of God, so that you can be holy as the Heavenly Father is holy (Mt 5:48), for whatever you have done to the least of my brothers, you did to me (Mt 25:40). The call to holiness is not only for a few, but for everyone. Jesus is the source of holiness, and He gives this to His Church. The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church proclaims that “all the faithful of Christ are invited to strive for the holiness and perfection of their own proper state…. Let neither the use of the things of this world nor attachment to riches, which is against the spirit of evangelical poverty, hinder them in their quest for perfect love. Let them heed the admonition of the Apostle to those who use this world; let them not come to terms with this world; for this world, as we see it, is passing away” (LG #42). The test for holiness is not only in kneeling down in Church or in your room, but attending to the needs of the little ones who do not have access to the necessities of this life. For those who remain faithful: in the life to come, the Master “will gird himself, have you recline at table, and proceed to wait on you” (Lk 12:37). Therefore, if in this life we do not become holy as the Lord wants us to be, we will all have failed, for this is His Will for us.
As we celebrate the Eucharist let us grow daily in gratitude for the sacrifice Jesus offered for our salvation. Let us also renew our trust in the Lord, for “the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:6). Talking about Abraham and Sarah’s total trust in the Lord, Paul encourages us that the one who had made the promise is trustworthy (Heb 11:11). Jesus prepares this banquet of His Body and Blood for us now, for as He says: whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me (Jn 12:26).