20th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
August 18, 2013
GOSPEL READING: Jesus: A Cause of Division.
"I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how I am constrained until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division; for henceforth in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against her mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law."
REFLECTION: Salvation and Rejection
Honestly, I make reflections on the Gospel and some other readings only for my personal reflection. I never dared write them down until I was asked to do this reflection. In Luke 12:49-53, Jesus said that “He did not come to establish peace but rather division --- the division of a household of five will be divided three against two and two against three; a father against his son and a son against his father; a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother; a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” In my practice of my profession as a lawyer, I have encountered cases involving children against a parent, and among siblings fighting over properties which they cannot even carry with them when they die.
The Gospel speaks about salvation and rejection. The particular question asked is: “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” It may be followed by: “Who will be saved?” “Will I be among those who will be saved?” Of course, our answer will be in the affirmative, but are we worth it?
I remember the parable of the weeds among the wheat. Good seeds were sown, but later as they grew, weeds were discovered among them. When the servants asked the Master if they would pull out the weeds, the Master did not consent to it but allowed them to grow until harvest time --- wherein the angels will be made to select the weeds and thrown into the fire, and the wheat will be taken into the barn (Mt. 13:24-30). What I remember most is about the “sheep” and the “goats” in Mt. 25:35-46 --- when on judgment day, the Lord will ask what we have done to the least of our brethren. Then, we will be classified whether we are “sheep” and placed on His right and be given eternal life; or “goats” and be placed at His left and go off to eternal punishment. Could it be that even here on earth the “weeds” are now being separated from the “wheat” or the “sheep” from the “goats”?
When we do the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy for the least of our brothers and sisters, we may be considered as “sheep”, provided we do them not out of compulsion or for a reward or price, but out of love for God and our neighbors. As Blessed Theresa of Calcutta said, “on the last day we will be judged based on the love we have done to our neighbors”.
Jesus also tells us to “strive to enter through the narrow gate”. We cannot enter through the narrow gate (or through the “eye of a needle”) if we have so many “baggages”. If we want to enter through it, we have to deny ourselves of our pleasures in life that lead us to sin; carry our cross; and follow Jesus. It may mean performing our responsibilities and living selflessly in love of God and our neighbors.
One time, I overheard a Catholic and a non-Catholic having a discussion while we were in a bus on my way to office. The Catholic claimed that only Catholics, because of faith in Christ, will be saved. The non-Catholic, on the other hand, claimed that even if he belongs to another sect, he and his other members will be saved because they make it a point to study the Bible and that they love one another. During our trip I pondered on the issue they were discussing. I believe faith alone cannot save us. It is faith and good deeds, and not doing evil. In the 365 Days with the Lord, I read that many non-Christians will be saved if they follow their consciences and do good, while many Christians will be rejected if they do not do good. Our Christian religion is a great help to know what Christ says and what God wills, but our belonging to the Christian religion is not a guarantee that we will be saved. Let us always be thankful to God that we are Christians, yes, Catholic believers, and witnesses to the Word.
So now, what do I want, salvation or rejection? Of course, SALVATION! Dear Lord, if the good deeds I have done are still lacking, please give me a chance to do some more for You through my neighbors. I love You, my God, and I want to be with You in Your Kingdom, together with Mama Mary, all the Saints and Your angels.
ABOUT THE SHARER:
MRS. EDNA BUSTAMANTE-ROA, O.P. is a member of the Dominican Laity. She is from Oas, Albay. She finished Bachelor of Laws at Legazpi Colleges (now Aquinas University of Legazpi). She is a member of the Philippine Bar since 1964 and was a former president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (Albay Chapter). At present, she is its Chapter Secretary and Chairperson of Chapter’s Bar Discipline. She is a practicing lawyer for almost fifty years now.
She is active in civic organizations as president for Bicol Region of the Veterans Federation of the Philippines Sons & Daughters Association, former Director of Bicolandia of Philippine Amateur Radio Association, former president of Mayon Amateur Radio Club; and likewise active in religious organizations like being the president of St. Martin de Porres Conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and president of the Jesus’ Peace Community Foundation. She is the Chapter President of St. Martin de Porres Chapter and President of the Dominican Laity of Bicolandia. She was the former secretary of the Provincial Council of the Dominican Laity, Philippine Province. Now, she is a member of the Provincial Council and Coordinator of the Commission on Medical, Dental, Justice and Peace, and a member of the Commission on Formation.
Ordinary Time, Cycle C, OP Laity, Salvation, Rejection, Faith, Love, Good Works