29TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME A
During the community lockdowns, two neighbors found their lives intertwined. The first one was a poor devout widow who had to stop selling fish due to the quarantines. The other was a bitter old pensioner who professed to be atheist, an unbeliever in God.
The widow prayed every day before the altar for things she needed, food and provisions, and believing in Divine Providence, also thanked the Lord for every little blessing she received. Her neighbor the atheist, could hear her voice from the window and always laughed at her simple unquestioning faith.
One day, the atheist thought of pranking the widow. He secretly placed at her doorsteps food to last for a week, to see her reaction. The widow saw the big surprise, took the basket inside and immediately started thanking God in prayer. The atheist heard her praying and shouted from his window: Hey, foolish woman, it was not your God who sent you food. I delivered that basket this morning. You see, no food comes from God because there is no God!
The woman heard everything but instead of replying to her neighbor, knelt before the altar and prayed even louder: Lord, thank you that you even use the devil to send me what I need. Truly you are the God who hears the cry of the poor!
It is a mistake to think that God directly acts in our lives through miraculous and supernatural ways as depicted in the Bible. These events do occur at times, but more often the Lord’s actions in our lives are mediated – they happen through human and material instruments.
The people of Israel look to King Cyrus as a great instrument of God’s liberating power (Is 45). He may have been a pagan king, but the Lord inspired him to allow the exiled people to return to their land and start their lives all over again.
In the Gospel, the Lord Jesus says: give to Ceasar what belongs to him…, thereby implying that human authorities have the blessing of God. Through people who desire to serve their neighbors in the civic sector, God’s presence and loving touch reach the poor, the youth, the elderly and all peace-loving people.
In our Christian environment and in the culture of other believing peoples, it is therefore important that leaders in society realize that they act on behalf of a greater power, a higher law, a nobler mission. They are not absolute rulers, but mere stewards of the God who wants to love and care for his people.
Giving to Ceasar what belongs to him – respect and cooperation – also means giving to our leaders what belong to them by virtue of their office – honest feedback, challenge towards truth and transparency, clamor for justice and safety of all.
Leaders cannot just impose silence and fear, intimidation and harassment, pressure and suppression. If they so act, then they no longer become the instruments of God; they go beyond the limits of their God-given mandate. They begin to serve themselves and not their brothers and sisters.
It is sad that people today are witnesses to the growing greed of some leaders. They experience the callousness of their corruption. They fall victims to their irrational decisions that favor the rich and powerful rather than the poor and the weak in society.
We need to pray for them. But we must also remind them that their power is not only from the votes they gathered, but ultimately from God.
Pls share with a friend…