Sunday readings in brief 20 C
Jer 38:4-6,8-10; Ps 39 (40); Heb 12:1-4; Lk 12:49-53
Breaking to reconstruct
Dear friends, today is the twentieth Sunday of Ordinary Time. The readings today are a little bit heavy to our ears because they break from the usual themes of consolation, urging, teaching, etc., and expose our bad preferences that ultimately ruin our lives and that of the entire society.
Many Christians today prefer to hear a gospel that is sweet to their ears, rather than one that warns or causes discomfort. They prefer ‘the Gospel of prosperity’ to the one that exposes human frailty. Realizing that people are afraid of true conversion, many preachers have come up with “gospel products” customized for different audiences. Different from the olden days, where faith was streamlined and there were very few options available, today we have a supermarket of Gospel products according to our preferences. This has turned the gospel into a market commodity that comes with different tastes, sizes, colours, and prices. It is your choice.
In the first reading, the people are now tired and sick of the prophet Jeremiah, who does not stop pulling the rug from under their feet. They decide to kill him and stop his continuous cries of doom even though it was looming. They would rather die in their denial than listen to the uncomfortable summons by the prophet. King Zedekiah saved him this time but eventually, the people managed to eliminate Jeremiah. The crime of Elijah was telling the people that they would perish soon unless they changed their ways and turned back to God.
This is what we are facing in today’s world. People prefer to live their lives without boundaries no matter how crazy it may be. The voices of sanity and calls for change are often persecuted and shuttered. However, what no one can do is avoid the consequences of not listening to the voice of conscience.
In order to help this kind of situation that was slowly leading the people to damnation, Jesus came to break the past conformist type of Gospel and reconstruct human morality. He came to lay the foundations of human morality a new. If a building is sitting on a weak foundation, no matter how much one spends on trying to support it, one day it will collapse on its own weight. The cost of repairs can be very high and unending. However, the best thing to do, though undesirable by many, is to pull down the entire building and reconstruct a new one on a firm foundation. Our families must be built upon the ties of true Christian values and not human blood simply. This is what makes Faith thicker than Blood. For the sake of true Christian values, it is advisable to contradict even one’s family members and relatives.
As Christians, we are called to reconstruct our lives on the firm foundation laid down by Christ Jesus. St. Paul compares this to a race that we should keep steadily on track. Paul advises us to throw away all that hinders us especially, the sins that cling to us so easily. We must endure the discomforts and opposition of the Gospel if we want to reach heaven. Those who are tasked with the responsibility of teaching the truth must strive to bring people to change, and not conform to the needs of their ‘clients’. We must strive to be like Jesus and not force Jesus to be like us.
Dear friends, as we break the busy schedule of our lives to honour and worship our creator, let us evaluate our preferences and see whether we are moved by the gospel to make proper amendments in our lives or we would rather prefer to hear only what pleases us.
Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD
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