August 20, 2016
People will come to the Kingdom of God
This passage from Luke’s Gospel follows two parables of the mustard seed and the yeast. Both are small things in appearance but both have the capacity of making a big difference and even a great impact.
Each follower of Christ – when we are true to our identity – can be like the mustard seed and the yeast. In our own situation, we can and are called to transform our world.
This mission has its scope in the words of Jesus that we listen to today, "people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God."
In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we are called to live and spread God’s Kingdom of Mercy by our works of mercy.
Moreover, the Year of Mercy ends on the Feast of Christ the King can be seen as both a conviction and a statement of faith. We profess that the Kingdom of God’s Mercy is already among us. Yet, we are called to build that Kingdom until the whole creation has embraced God’s Mercy.
That is the extent of our mission. We, God’s mustard seeds and yeast, have the mission of bringing “people from the east and the west and from the north and the south to recline at table the kingdom of God.”
August 13, 2016
“To Set the Earth on Fire”
A week ago, Jesus told us “your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom,” (Luke 12:32). Yet, today, in the same chapter, he speaks of some really troublesome things.
What’s the idea here?
On the one hand, Jesus’ words, referring to divisions even within families, might be interpreted as disturbing and hard to accept. In fact, we know some people rejected his message then. Many still do today.
On the other hand, the gift of God’s kingdom that Jesus brought us is the greatest gift. It is greater than what is considered natural in a human family. There might be times when one’s family is not willing to accept it. Even then, the gift of the kingdom of God is worth the rejection of one’s own family.
And this message from Jesus might even mean that anyone who has been given the gift of the kingdom would do all one could to share that gift with everybody, beginning with one’s own family.
That is the fire Jesus gives us to share with all until the whole earth is blazing with the fire of God’s love.
July 9, 2016
“Moved with Compassion”
The Samaritan “was moved with compassion at the sight” of the victim of robbers.
This same expression appears two other times in the Gospel of Luke. Jesus uses it to describe the forgiving father at the sight of his prodigal son returning in Luke 15. The other time, it is used by Luke to describe Jesus when he sees the suffering widow of Nain whose son has died in Luke 7.
This expression is similar to saying, “the person's heart aches at the sight.”
The Samaritan's aching heart (compassion) moves him to act as the neighbor to the victim.
So is God's heart for us in our sufferings.
So is the heart of Jesus at the sight of our pains, struggles, and sins.
Looking at this parable in this way, it is a parable of God's mercy and compassion for us.
In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, let us allow the compassionate heart of God to touch us.
July 2, 2016
Luke 10: 1-12, 17-20
The Kingdom of God is at Hand
Last Sunday, at the end of Chapter 9 in Luke, we heard of Jesus telling some people the first priority in life is to proclaim the Kingdom of God.
Today, at the beginning of Chapter 10, Jesus sends out 72 disciples to do that.
And Jesus gives them the content of the message they are to proclaim: "Peace" and "The Kingdom of God is at hand."
Jesus today continues to call and send us, his disciples, to proclaim the same message: the Kingdom of God is peace.
And this is a message we are to proclaim not just by words, but also by attitude and actions. We are to reach out to people and accept who they are and what they have to offer. We are to cure the sick and transform people's lives with the peace of God.
Mother Teresa puts it well, "Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness, kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile."
June 25, 2016
Luke 9: 51 - 62
"First, Let Me"
Jesus is not unreasonable. Nor is he telling people not to honor their parents or their commitments or responsibilities.
In fact, he upholds honoring one's parents as God commands it. When asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?,” he responds, "You know the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother.’” (Luke 18: 18, 20)
In this passage, Luke points out the contrast between the attitude of Jesus and that of the two who cannot follow him.
The passage begins, "When the days for Jesus' being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem." Now is the time appointed by God for him to offer his life for allof all humanity. He knows what awaits him in Jerusalem. More importantly, he knows what God plans for him and all of God's children. So, he resolutely determines to go and carry out that plan. He puts God first.
In contrast, the two people who cannot follow him puts themselves first. One says, "Let me go first..." And the other says similarly, "First, let me..." They put themselves and their plans first, not God or God's plan.
Jesus puts God first and determines to carry out God's plan. It is his response of love.
He, who died for his beloved now tells us, "You, go and proclaim the kingdom of God."
Let us ask God, "Lord, let me put you first. Let me put my brothers and sisters first. In so doing, may I proclaim your Kingdom of love and mercy."