Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
Kings and members of the royal families are specially tutored in the arts of speech, literature and upholding of power, so that they can protect their kingdoms and sustain their royal stature. Similarly, presidents and their families, as well as many politicians do the same, especially in the art of argumentation to stay in office, and hopefully be efficient and effective in the making of laws and delivering basic services to society. Students likewise are taught the same art, so that they can express themselves well, and hopefully be successful in their careers.
We, Christians, only have the power of the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Word of God to every person in words and in actions, and be protected from the evil one. It is important for our actions to be aligned to what we say and to our faith, for words that do not accompany good actions are like balloons; and just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead (Ja 2:20). What we do is a confirmation of what we say. When people talk a lot and do little, it indicates that there is not much substance in their lives. We are trained and formed to proclaim the Word in silence and prayer, in study and reflection and in love and service to others under the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit, our silent and ever faithful friend and companion wherever we go.
Let the following guide our life daily:
1. Listen. We have two ears and only one mouth. A person who talks all the time cannot listen to others, and cannot hear the Holy Spirit talking to him. The Holy Spirit is a very patient Person of the Blessed Trinity. He does not shout, neither does He force Himself on anyone. So, we can only listen to the Word in silence and in humility, and become useful instruments of God, for when we have done all we have been commanded, we can only say, we are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do (Lk 17:10).
2. Talk sensibly. We have a big brain accompanied by a guiding heart and a small mouth. A person who talks without thinking and listening is degrading, corrupting and humiliating the power of his brain and heart to guide him in all his decisions and actions. St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans: “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect” (12:2). We also remember what God said through the prophet Jeremiah: “I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (31:33).
No political power and sophisticated eloquence can save us from economic crises, wars, personal and social vices, and corruption, for the world seeks its own interests. Only with the Word of God through the power of the Holy Spirit can save us from a world full of pride, selfishness and indifference; and only in the Word of God can we change ourselves and the world.
3. Be a gift to God and to others, freely received and freely given. When we think we have already given so much time and effort, God demands for more. Only those who know how to give will receive more. Only those who know how to lose themselves for others will find more of God. Entrust your capacities to the Him and He will do wonders through you. Give all that you have and He will give all that He is and has. Empty yourself of selfishness, pride and arrogance, and He will fill you with His gifts, His humility and His glory. Wait patiently for Him, and He will be faithful to you. Seek Him and He will find you. God proclaims, “Listen to my voice; then I will be your God and you shall be my people. Walk in all the ways that I command you, so that you may prosper” (Jer 7:23).
Let this Eucharist preserve our faith in God as we journey towards Him. Let us be the salt of the earth, the light of the world, the city set on a hill. Then, we can help satisfy man’s hunger and thirst physically and spiritually, house the homeless, overcome temptation and sin, work for causes for justice, solidarity and charity toward all, comfort the sorrowing, and perform all the works of mercy. These are more powerful and effective than philosophies, rhetoric and power plays that many times hurt the needy than heal and help them, for these works of mercy are done for Christ, with Christ and in Christ, the source of light and faith. So, in his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul proclaims, “When I came to you, brothers and sisters, proclaiming the mystery of God, I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom…. my message and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of Spirit and power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God” (2:1-5).