Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
Today’s media are filled with beautiful promises for easy life: wealth without hard work, strong and healthy body without exercise and proper diet, life without worries and many others.
We live in a society that depends so much on insurances: accident insurance, calamity insurance, life insurance. However despite an accident insurance, no one can avoid the pain and trauma of an accident. Despite the calamity insurance, no one can run away from the fury of nature when it rages. Despite life insurance, no one in this world can add a day to his life when his hour has come to meet his creator. A person who carries a life insurance certificate knows that in the end somebody else will claim all his benefits.
Only God carries insurance against eternal death for those who remain faithful to Him, obey His commands and follow His precepts. Only God can give insurance for life after death for those who believe and abide by His commands and for those who care for those whom He loves.
Our readings today give us figures of life. Among them are the following:
1. In the Book of Isaiah, the Lord says: “All you who are thirsty, come to the water” (Is 55:1). In the Scriptures, water is a sign of life. Even if at times water can be a destructive force, nevertheless it is a life giving force to creation. The Book of Genesis tells us that
At the time when the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, while as yet there was no field shrub on earth and no grass of the field had sprouted, for the LORD God had sent no rain upon the earth and there was no man to till the soil, but a stream was welling up out of the earth and was watering all the surface of the ground (2:4-6).
At the Jordan when He was baptized, Jesus opened the heavens to the world, and through the waters of Baptism that we receive through the life of the Church, we share His life and become heirs of the Kingdom of God. Jesus invites us to receive an abundance of blessings for ourselves and for others when He calls,
Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as scripture says: Rivers of living water will flow from within Him. He said this in reference to the Spirit that those who came to believe in him were to receive (Jn 7:37-39).
The Book of Proverbs brings us this idea of life for those who remain in God: “The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life (10:11); The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life (13:14); The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life (14:27); Wisdom is a fountain of life to him who has it (16:22); and many more.
2. St. Paul asks, “What will separate us from the love of Christ” (Rom 8:35)? The whole of Scriptures is God’s story with man. He always calls His people to Himself. He gives them their needs. He protects them from their enemies. Even if people turn away from Him, He forgives them. He allows them to enter into the holiness of His life. When a man loves a woman, he will do everything to bring her to him. This God does everything to bring His people back to Him.
And surely, what in the world will separate us from the love of Christ, if we only we remain in Him?
3. When the disciples asked Jesus to send the people away because it was already evening and they were in a deserted place, Jesus said to His disciples, “There is no need for them to go away” (Mt 14:16). Jesus did not want His people to be separated from Him. He knew He could sustain them.
The Lord invites us to a life of generosity and honesty. To be generous is to have an open heart to Jesus and to the people He loves and to be open and receptive to opportunities of hope and love that come our way. To be honest is to have no deceit in our heart and mind, and to lead others to the truth, the truth that is Jesus Himself, whom we celebrate and receive in the Eucharist. May the Mother of Jesus, the Mediatrix of all graces, fill us with Her love so that, as faithful children, we may inherit the Kingdom promised to all who trust and abide by Him.