Reflection for the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Cycle A)
Who are they who are called “chosen”?
The Apostle Paul explains, “God has chosen what the world considers foolish, to shame the wise; he has chosen what the world considers weak, to shame the strong. God has chosen common and unimportant people, making use of what is nothing, to nullify the things that are, so, that, no mortal may boast before God.”
No human person can therefore claim to being someone to, or having done something for the Spirit, for he utilizes “nobody-ness” and “nothing-ness” to create anything and everything; it is in doing so, that the Spirit demonstrates the power which belongs only to him.
The chosen are thus, those who are “nothing” and “nobody,” but through whom God begets all. It is only through them that the kingdom of justice and peace will be permitted by him to be achieved. That is why the Spirit is persistent in actively seeking them. But, though “nothing” and “nobody,” the chosen can be “somebody,” and can do “something,” only in and with the Christ: We are who we are, only through the Christ in us, so “let the one who boasts boast of the Lord.”
The chosen are those who are living in simplicity, as our Lord did in his lifetime on earth; and those who under conditions of injustice, are compelled to live on what is barely enough to survive, who under a culture devoid of mutual care, are compelled to live in the absence of love.
The chosen are those who deem themselves less, for to them, our Lord is always greater; those who consider themselves less than others, for in the eyes of our Lord, their hearts are pure and prepared to love without conditions; and those who are unjustly forced to become “less” than everybody else, for our Lord shall remember them and will not rest until they are given the dignity of being living “images” of God.
The chosen are those who are constantly in sorrow and pain, for they are sure to be comforted in the friendship and companionship of the Love that will never die, and so, are being prepared by our Lord to console and uplift those others who are grieving like them.
The chosen are those who are acting bravely for the sake of fairness and justice, for to them, since our Lord is always committed to providing for the growth and development of all, then those who insist in pursuing self-gain at the expense of others, will have to one day face the greater justice of heaven.
The chosen are those who are bearing the sins of others with patience, and forgiving them with compassion, because our Lord has done or will do the same for all who are the hope of anyone desiring to turn away from evil and becoming better.
The chosen are those who are learning to see and understand only selfless love, for our Lord is transforming and liberating them from the bondage of a selfish love by and for the world.
The chosen are those who are working for peace, for our Lord will bless and protect them with his divine own.
And the chosen are those who for an all-consuming love for our Lord, and for all who have been left behind, are bearing the wounds or already fallen victims of hatred and violence, for he will be with them until the end of space and time.
That is why the chosen must be equally persistent in actively seeking the Spirit, for these seemingly difficult and harsh demands upon them, can only become much less intolerable when such are endured under his care and guidance. “Seek God, all you poor of the land, who fulfill his commands, do justice and be meek; and perhaps you will find refuge on the day God comes to judge.”
So, let us all pray, “Father, may my sweat, tears and blood be my badge of courage for the sake of righteousness. And may these sacrifices bring about the healing, peace and prosperity of your eternal reign! Amen.”
Brother Jess Matias is a professed brother of the Secular Franciscan Order. He serves as minister of the St. Pio of Pietrelcina Fraternity at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Mandaluyong City, coordinator of the Padre Pio Prayer Groups of the Capuchins in the Philippines and prison counselor and catechist for the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.
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