TO WHOM MUCH IS GIVEN, MUCH IS EXPECTED
⏰Thursday of the Twenty-fourth Week of Ordinary Time 2 (20 Sept. 2018 – Memorial of St. Andrew Kim Tae-Gon and Companions)
📖1 Cor 15:1-11; Ps 118:1-2, 15c-17, 28 (R.v.1a); Luke 7:36-50
There are striking similarities between St Paul and the woman in Luke 7:36-50 – they received tremendous mercy from God and they responded with great devotion and dedication. Jesus observed this fact in his dialogue with Simon, his host, while St Paul confirmed this himself (cf. 1Cor 15:8-10; Luke 7:40-47).
The truth is that since God does show any partiality (cf. Acts 10:34; Rom 2:11), it means that everyone of us received equal amount of love and mercy through the death and resurrection of Christ (1Cor 15:1-4). How have we been able to reciprocate that love and mercy?
Pitiably, many of us make an outright rejection of that love and mercy through a profession of self-righteousness. Look at that Pharisee that had invited Jesus for a meal. He said that if Jesus were a prophet, he would have known that the woman was a sinner (Luke 6:39). That means, he was not a sinner himself and so merits Jesus’ presence. That is the problem – merit-centred morality.
The Jews believed that salvation is meant for them and that they do not need to make much effort to gain it. The Pharisees are worst; they believed they have done so much for God and so MERIT his love (cf. Luke 18:11-12). They make no response to God’s invitation to love (Luke 6:31-34) and they want to block other people from embracing that love (Luke 6:39).
We are like the Pharisees when we think that we have gone to Church long enough, made good contributions to the development of the Church and are placed so high in the society in such a way that our personal effort towards sanctity no longer matter; what we have done in the past suffice.
There is nothing we are or have that is not a product of God’s grace and generosity. Paul observed this fact (1Cor 15:10). Are we reciprocating to that love as much as we should?
In the nineteenth century, the Christians in Korea faced great persecution that led to the martyrdom of great number of them who we celebrate today. The blood they shed for the sake of Christ became the seed of strong faith in parts of Korea today, especially in the South. But the Christians in North Korea still face great persecution and we are encouraged to remember them in our prayers daily, for courage in bearing authentic witness for Christ.
May the grace of God continue to sustain you in all that you do this day and beyond. May the same grace enable you to see the need of always coming back to God because a river that forgets its source dries away. In the end, may that grace win you a place in God’s kingdom. Amen.
Peace be with you.