Build Up Your Neighbor

Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backwards. If it is not pulled backwards in the bow, it will not fly to hit the target. So, let us go back a little bit. Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating the fruit of the tree that was forbidden them to eat; and at that very moment that they ate, they realized that they had done something wrong. Because of that, they did not want to see God or be seen by God. Why? Because a disobedient sinner cannot face God at any time.

We cannot just seek to satisfy temporally the desire of our eyes, for the eyes are the window of the heart, or the cravings of our heart, for the heart is the tabernacle of the Most High, or the urges of our bodies, for our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit. All things are directed for the good of all to build faith and hope in men and women to grow in the spirit of gratitude, and directed always for the greater glory of God (cf. 2Cor 4:15).

Now we shoot the arrow bullseye on our target for Christian living: obedience to the will of God. Jesus would then say: “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother” (Mk 3:33-35). Christian life is not about material things, for they perish. It is not a matter of convenience because the latter is temporary. It is not about personal preferences that we can even lose the sense of sin, for it is God’s preference and command to obey Him, to love one another and to serve the needy.

We have a saying: Small minds discuss people, great minds discuss ideas. Unsuccessful people see the problems, and think and dwell on them. Successful people see the problems and think of solutions. The former is a drain and burden to their companions, the latter, advantage and benefit to his companions, and uplifting to leadership in the group.

So, to be great and successful Christians we have to know ourselves, control ourselves and give ourselves for others for their good and for the greater glory of God. How? By a life of generosity, attitude of humility (thinking of others as greater than you are), and a life of purpose that actually gives energy to ourselves and to others.

In your relationship with others, build them up, be slow to bring up your own agenda, slow to moralize on every statement and situation, and allow them to express themselves in words and in deeds. Then, the Lord will not ask you, “Where are you,” for you are in Him, just as the others are in him, and we are one in Him and because of Him. Be kind and understanding, put yourself in the shoes of the other person; and the patience that maybe too elusive will follow you all the days of your life.

When somebody​ makes a suggestion or makes a statement, unless it is explicitly morally wrong, don’t immediately disagree. Consider it. Think about it. Discuss it with somebody, if necessary. There’s always something good in suggestions. When you disagree immediately, you bar yourself from further communication. That makes you a close-minded person, and open only for things that soothe you. Always think that the other person has different background and experience. Say you’ll consider it. To consider does not necessarily mean you like it or you don’t like it. Remember, you don’t have the monopoly of information, knowledge, and experience. Treat people with the dignity of having intellect. Then you can practice the humility and gentleness of accepting people as they are.

Consider now the way of light: Accept as a blessing whatever comes your way in the knowledge that nothing ever happens without God’s concurrence. Avoid duplicity in thought or in word, for such deception is a deadly snare.

Share with your neighbor whatever you have, and do not say of anything, this is mine. If you both share an imperishable treasure, how much more must you share what is perishable. Do not be hasty in speech; the mouth is a deadly snare. For your soul’s good, make every effort to live chastely. Do not hold out your hand for what you can get, only to withdraw it when it comes to giving. Cherish as the apple of your eye anyone who speaks to you of the word of the Lord (from a letter attributed to Barnabas, The Way of Light).

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