Consistent Ways

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

How consistent are we in life? How fair are we in our relationships, in our work, and in what we say? When somebody breaks the law, he says: “it’s ok, nobody saw me.” When one is late, he blames the heavy traffic. When one hurts somebody, he says: “oh, it’s only a small thing”; or “if you were not there, you would not be hurt.” When one gets an extra change from a store, he says: “it’s all right, they had so much already.” When one misses a meeting, he says: “they will understand, I’m a busy person.” When a spouse cheats on the family, he/she says: “everybody does it, anyway.” How often do we say yes when we mean no, and no when we mean yes? These are a few of the many questions that we have to ask ourselves if we have to grow in relationships, in service and in holiness so that peace may reign in our hearts.

We can also go on with a litany of excuses. When we’re at fault we look for someone or a situation to blame, hoping that we can get out of our accountability for our actions. But we’re still accountable for what we are and what we do, and how we manage ourselves on the things that we have to do.

We shout, “Fairness,” or “Justice.” But many times, we don’t even care to move our fingers to do what we are supposed to do and to be what we are supposed to be. We play God on ourselves. We want to sit and wait, and expect to be looked up to. The Israelites even accused God that His way was not fair. And the Lord answered,

Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair? (Ez 18:25).

St. Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, invites us to an understanding of our relationship with Christ and with our neighbor in following passages:

1. “Complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing” (2:2). No person can walk in disunity with his neighbor and say he loves Christ and is united with Him. The Eucharist, prayers and other devotions, service and other activities, will have meaning and impact in our lives only if they are done in love with the community and for all people whom Christ has redeemed. In his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul says,

“Love is kind. It is not jealous…. it is not inflated…. it does not brood over injury…. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (13: 4-7).

2. “Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory” (2:3). If we are not satisfied with what we are and with what we have, we will never be happy. If all that we do is for our own interests only and for our own satisfaction, we will never have peace of mind. And it’s one of the great miseries in life.

3. “Humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also for those of others” (3-4). We all have our virtues, capacities and capabilities. They are God-given. We cannot boast of anything as ours. All God’s gifts are not only for ourselves, but also for the good of our community and all people. The book of Proverbs tells us:

If you remain indifferent in time of adversity, your strength will depart from you (24: 10).

Unity is our strength in the Lord. Respect for others, their capabilities and their needs, will lead us to our much needed unity and peace in the world. When Jesus came to the world, He respected our situation and condition. He became like us and was obedient, even until death on the cross. In the same context, St. Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, says that love “does not seek its own interests” (13:5).

We are all God’s children; and Jesus, in His Church, invites us to love the Sacraments, especially the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. They always make us aware of God’s constant love for us and His consistent act of forgiveness. With Mary, Mother of joy, let God’s love then burn in our hearts in whatever we do and in whatever we say.

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