Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (José Antonio Pagola)

Ross Reyes DizonHomilies and reflections, Year CLeave a Comment

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Minority living

Luke has compiled in his gospel some very endearing and affectionate words, addressed by Jesus to his male and female followers.  Frequently, these words go unnoticed usually.  Read carefully today, however, from the perspective of our parishes and Christian communities, they take on a surprising relevance.  They are what we need to hear from Jesus during these not so easy times for the faith.

“My Little flock” — Jesus looks with immense tenderness at his small group of followers.  They are few.  They have the calling heeded to by a few.  They do not have to think of grandiose things.  Jesus imagines them as a little bit of “yeast” hidden in the dough, as small “light” in the midst of darkness, as a pinch of “salt” to add flavor to life.

After centuries of “Christian imperialism,” we disciples of Jesus have to learn to live as a minority.  It is a mistake to yearn for a powerful and strong Church.  It is a delusion to seek worldly power or to claim dominance over society.  The Gospel is not imposed by force.  It is spread, like a contagious disease, by those who adopt Jesus’ lifestyle, making life more human.

 “Do not be afraid” — It is Jesus’ great concern.  He does not want to see his followers paralyzed by fear or overwhelmed by discouragement.  They must never lose hope or peace.  Today, too, we are a little flock, but we can remain very united to Christ, the Shepherd who guides us and defends us.  He can make us live through these times peacefully.

“Your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom” — Jesus reminds them of it once more.   They do not have to feel they are orphans.  They have God as their Father.  He has entrusted to them his project of the kingdom.  It is his great gift.  The best thing we have in our communities is the task to make life more fit for human being as well as the hope to direct history toward its definitive salvation.

“Sell your belongings and give alms” — The followers of Jesus are a little flock, but they must never be a sect locked up in itself and looking out only for its own interests.  They must not turn their backs on anyone in need.  They will be communities with open doors.  They will share their possessions with those in need of help and supportive fellowship.  They will give alms, that is to say, “mercy.”  This is the original meaning of the Greek word.

We Christians will need some time still to learn to live as a minority in the midst of a secular and pluralistic society.  But there is something we can and should do without waiting for anything:  transform the climate prevailing in our communities and make it conform more to the Gospel.  Pope Francis is showing us the way with his gestures and his lifestyle.

José Antonio Pagola

August 11, 2013
19 Ordinary Time (C)
Lucas 12, 32-48

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