23RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME A
IT’S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY
Perhaps the prophet Ezekiel was shocked to hear the Lord’s words to him in the first reading today (Ez. 33).
As a prophet he knew his job well: to be God’s representative before the people, to be the Lord’s mouthpiece ready to speak his message. And after doing this, he could go home, enjoy family time and hang out with his friends.
But no! The Lord is telling him that his mission is more than just that!
He was to be responsible if after hearing God’s message, the people refuse to listen. He was responsible also if they do convert and change their evil ways.
The Lord expects the prophet not only to speak, but to give his heart totally to his mission, to have total dedication and commitment for the good, the welfare and the salvation of the people. In other words, he must love the people as God loves them!
At times we think that our mission as Christians is pretty easy. There is work to do in the church – participate. There is a fund drive for the poor – give. There is an appeal for help – volunteer. But is being a disciple just being involved with our money, a few extra hours of the weekend, or attendance in a function?
The Gospel (Mt 18) clearly demands more: if our brother or sister commits sin, we must work to bring that person back to the Lord. We must go talk to him, explain things, work out a reconciliation. That entails loving the person to go to such trouble for his enlightenment and conversion.
And this is where it becomes difficult! It is not easy to discuss things with an enemy. It is not easy to talk to someone who hurt you. It is not easy to communicate with a person (especially a family member or relative who is convinced he alone is right, does not receive advice, and is stubborn in his views. It’s easier to negotiate with a terrorist, than with such a person gone astray!
And that is why the Lord demands of us a genuine concern, a solicitude, and a love for our neighbor. Without love, it is easy to give up on others. Love however, impels us to go out and seek the person and try to bring him back to truth, to faith, to relationship.
I met a person who loves others so much that she was always concerned for what if good for people. She prays for others. She talks to them. She explains the Word of God. She invites people to join her in church or other activities.
It does not mean she is always successful in doing all these. But even in her failures, she continues to try loving as God loves her brothers and sisters.
Are you being tempted today to just do the minimum in living your Christian life? Are you satisfied with token giving or token presence in your church, work or neighborhood? Are you afraid of approaching people to remind them of what is right and holy?
First let us ask the Lord for a heart like his – totally committed to the good, to the salvation of others. Then let us ask the Lord for courage to be a real prophet in our present situation, to be a true disciple who offers others the Good News out of love and not out of obligation.
(pls share to someone you care for... thanks!)