WEDNESDAY: Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Love, Mercy, Equality and Justice
Judges 9:6-15 is a beautiful allegory. A functional tool that can help us discern our future and make the right choices in the midst of a licentious, unjust and spiritless world. Spinelessness defines us today. We are victims of the whims and fancies of innovations and modern-day ideologies, which contribute nothing to the core of our humanity and our holistic development to become integrated men and women, fit for the kingdom of God. Like trees we stand, tilt, and away at the mercy of the wind. Thanks to the benevolence of the rain and sun, we grow and bloom. Without the aid of husbandmen, the weeds and the thorn bush overwhelm us and stifle our growth and productivity.
The trees, in search of a king, in today’s first reading, are symbolic of pathetic people looking for substance and recognition outside of their being. The olive tree, the fig tree, the vine collectively, represent people who are cognizant of their innate values, the worth of their stewardship and their invaluable contribution to the wellbeing of the kingdom. They are not prepared to sacrifice or compromise virtues, morals and fortitude to rule over ineffectiveness.
The buckthorn, however, is a symbol of expediency and temporary solutions, represents the imps of society. They are those who will not spare a second thought to grab at the hilt of power, to devour the cedars of Lebanon – the symbol of structure, durability, righteousness, and integrity to compensate for their fragile ego and the pursuit of their personal agenda.
How does the above-mentioned allegory relate to the parable in today’s gospel? Jesus stands out as a towering cypress tree. He is the symbol of righteousness, justice, peace and integrity for all peoples. In his own body, Christ incorporates the nature and qualities of the olive tree: which symbolizes light (Lev.24:2; Exod.27:20; Jn.9:5), the fig tree, a symbol of forgiveness and grace, and the vine as a symbol of live-giving (Jn.15:1-17). He is the light of God, the bread of life, and divine vine who will not sacrifice his honour and divine integrity to become subservient to the temptation and lure of the evil one to rule over the empire of Satan (Matt.4:4). But, he will reach the ends of the earth to bring light, love, forgiveness, mercy and to stand in solidarity with sufferers in need of redemption and salvation (Is.61:1-2; 62:1; Lk.4:18-19).
How do this allegory and this parable relate to our present historical, social, political, economic and religious context? With the rapid decline in human integrity and justice, most of our human institutions are riddled with buckthorns who will stoop to any level to capitalize on the weakness of the spineless for their own advantage. They are the ones who are never satisfied and always grab at the largest portion of the pie, and more. Christianity, Christian spirituality as portrayed in today’s allegory and parable inspire us to do as follows: no matter how lucrative an opportunity may be for us, do not grab at it for the wrong reasons. As Christians, we must use every opportunity at our disposal to bring out the usefulness and capability of every human person with an expressed desire to establish God’s plan for equality, bread and justice for all, as illustrated in the “Lord’s Prayer”.
Lord, your love and your mercy that is all I need.