MONDAY: Twenty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
To Love Without Prejudice
Christian worship is a celebration of God’s love, our redemption from sin and death, and the fullness of life, justice, peace, and the shaping of our moral consciousness as members of the Mystical Body of Christ (2Tim.3:16-17). The Christian Eucharist is a celebration of life. A thanksgiving sacrifice to God who entered into a covenant with us through the blood of Christ. It is a celebration of God’s accomplished wonders among us, and his ceaseless efforts at helping us acquire the mind of Christ. That in the end, we become legitimate heirs of the kingdom with Christ. In other words, the Christian liturgy is the school where the children of God, the brothers and sisters of Christ learn the ways of righteousness, justice, peace and develop a moral consciousness that reflects the true nature of the kingdom.
Righteousness and justice are demonstrations of confidence, expressions of Caritas and Filial love. They are conscientious Christ-like efforts. They stand in solidarity with sufferers; their aim is to destroy any oppressive historical, social, economic, political, economic and religious conditions that are destructive to the image of God in humankind so that the children of God can all enjoy God’s favour (Is.61:1-2; Lk.4:18). Put differently, righteousness and justice basic interest is to liberate, redeem, and conciliate the discrepancy among the children of God that is likely to diminish the divine value in them.
In the absence of righteousness, justice and strong Christian morals, Christian worship can easily disintegrate into a parade of charlatans. It will be nothing less than the gatherings of egocentrics and narcissists unaffected by human pain, suffering, wickedness and oppression of sufferers among them. Law becomes their weapon of choice to protect their self-interest and to imprison the vulnerable in their existing subhuman conditions.
This was Jesus’ indirect question to the Pharisees when he asked them “is it against the law on the sabbath to do good, or to do evil; to save a life, or to destroy it (Lk.6:9)?” Instead, Jesus’s questioned aroused their anger, their suspicion, stimulated their deception and the cure of the man with the withered hand purposefully betrayed their dishonesty and self-centeredness that in the end, Pharisees wanted to kill Jesus. Has that culture undergone any change today?
Sadly, the tendencies exhibited by the Pharisees are still with us. March 26, 1967, Pope Paul VI, in his Encyclical, “Populorum Progressio", translated “The Great Social Problem”, noted:
“We are sure that all Christians, our brethren, will wish to expand their common co-operative effort to help mankind vanquish selfishness, prided and rivalries, to overcome ambitions and injustices, to open up to all the road to a more human life, where each man will be loved and helped as his brother, as his neighbour §82.”
This is the antecedent to discipleship with Christ; this is the purpose of Christian worship and the most profound expression of the Holy Eucharist as the source and summit of our Christian activity – we give our lives that others may have life to the full like Christ (Jn.10:10).
O God, teach me to love without prejudice and to worship you in spirit and in truth.