Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Rosalino Reyes Dizon)

Ross Reyes DizonHomilies and reflections, Year CLeave a Comment

Author: Rosalino Reyes Dizon .

A native of the Philippines, Ross Reyes Dizon lives with his wife, Melody, in Vallejo, California. They are the parents of two grown-up sons, Vincent and Justin, and grandparents of 19-month old Maximilian Frédéric. Ross has been posting Sunday readings reflections to various Vincentian web sites, including this site.

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Be all the more eager to make your call and election firm (2 Pt. 1:10)

Jesus proclaims himself the fulfillment of the Scripture and delineates his mission as the Evangelizer of the poor.  Confronting us as the “sign that will be contradicted” and looking at us with love, he invites us to decide in his favor.

Baptism, of course, means option for Jesus.  But there is always something that stands in the way of our affirming and deepening our election.  It is not that there is danger that our admiration will turn into rejection and anger, as was the case with Nazareth’s synagogue-goers, due to a supposed familiarity with Jesus or to a certain ethnocentrism.  Nor does it have to do with the possibility of our “Hosanna” turning into “Crucify him,” as if we simply go with the flow, with little thought.  But without knowing it, we can be disappointed, yes, just like Judas or like those disciples who, finding the Master’s teaching unacceptable, left him.

It is not easy to accept the teaching on the blessing of poverty and the curse of wealth.  When we worry about our needs, we find it hard to value gospel sayings more than money.  It requires great effort not to be too concerned about temporal goods—as St. Vincent de Paul advises—and cast all our cares instead on the good God who looks after us (Common Rules of the C.M. II, 2).

And do we not perhaps care more about the reputation of the institutional Church than about the welfare of children and thus turn our backs on the one who put his arms around children, blessed them and gave a stern warning to those who would cause the little ones to sin?  He also held them up as models, which points to the teaching that is quite difficult to practice:  “Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first will be the slave of all.”

Such teaching is even harder for the wealthy who think themselves destined to govern.  Considering themselves to be productive citizens and belittling the “useless” opportunists, or the so-called “takers,” they will get rid of public welfare program.  And not altogether unlike the synagogue-goers of Nazareth, they get furious when they hear people speak of “immigration reform.”  It does not matter even to the Christians among them that Jesus welcomed strangers and challenged his hearers to rid themselves of their old, comfortable and convenient presuppositions about those who did not belong to their race, culture, religion or gender even.

But it is precisely by being a servant or slave that a Christian reflects him who “did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Doing the same, the disciple partakes of the most excellent gift and the invincibility of the one who, giving his body up and shedding his blood, overcame the world and surpassed all tests.  No enemy or obstacle will prevail over someone who remains on the side of Jesus, “even when everything … seems headed for disaster” (ibid.).

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