Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
Words, words, words. There are many of these in the world. A promise is a word. A testimony is a word. A pledge is a word. An angry warning is a word. Do they give hope? Do they give life? How many promises have we received that became sour words? How many testimonies in courts and assemblies have we heard that fell on deaf ears and simply became wordy expressions? How many pledges have we received that simply flew in the air and became empty words? How many angry words have we heard or uttered that turned the world upside down and ruined relationships?….
…. St. John talked of only one Word: He who was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. He is God’s Word and the light amidst the darkness of the world (Jn 1:1ff). He is the hope amidst the despair and listlessness of people. He is the life among the dead due to the absence of the Word and Hope of the world.
In the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, he talks of a person who is full of words but without love as a clanging cymbal and a resounding gong …. Only he who is rooted in the Word of God, Jesus, will bear fruits of hope and life for the life of the world.
Words are meant to bring hope, just as the Word of God is the hope of the world; and the Word of God is the second Person of the Blessed Trinity who Himself is Hope…. https://onewordonlyhope.com/about/
Our first reading today gives us a picture of hope from Elisha to the woman from Shunem: she would cuddle a son in a year, a promise that was fulfilled because she and husband received a prophet. Jesus in our Gospel today would then proclaim that whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward (Mt 10:41). So, Jesus would proclaim in the same Gospel that any inordinate attachment to things and relationships in this life, any refusal to respond and serve the poor whom He loves, and any rejection of the little ones would not bring the hope and life the world needs.
It is said that if you put a pumpkin the size of a walnut in a jar, the pumpkin won’t grow bigger than the jar. Similarly, if you put yourself in the jar of selfishness and pride, you’ll grow only the size of yourself with a bloated head. If you put yourself in the jar of worldly things, pleasures and power, you grow only according to the world’s standard, but you won’t grow into eternal life. If you put yourself in the jar of jealousy, you will grow only in resentments and hurts, but won’t grow in loving relationship. If you put yourself in the jar of uncontrolled anger, antagonism and bitterness, you lose the energy that brings peace to others. If you put yourself in the jar of unbridled abuse of technology, you lose touch of reality and the inexhaustible processes of your mind and relation with others.
Brian Tracy, in his book Eat That Frog, says that technology can be your best friend or your worst enemy; and bombarded by information from all sides, many people seem to have an irresistible, if not obsessive, need to communicate continually with people everywhere. . . .
This compulsion to communicate incessantly – entailing the nonstop use of cell phones, … personal digital assistants, the Internet . . . tends to leave people psychologically breathless. We have no time to stop, smell the roses, and collect our thoughts (2008, Chap 17, Get Out of the Technological Time Sinks). Gandhi would say: There is more to life than just increasing its speed.
Now when you get out of that little jar that stifles your growth, you find life, the life meant for everyone: a life of generosity, humility, mastery of self, love, a life leading to eternal life, and a life that brings joy to others and makes others breathe easily and cheerfully. Here on earth it will be a life of praise and worship of God who created us, to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in our responsibilities, in our communities and our neighbors, in the church. So, pray, and find your more powerful and persuasive words from the Word Himself. Pray, and find your credible direction from the Way Himself. Pray, and find more profound truths in life from the Truth and Life Himself. And pray with Mary, our Mother, that we be available to receive Word of God, to serve and bring the Word to the World.
God bless you all.
Fr. Tito Ayo