Homily delivered on the 14th Sunday in Ordinary time
year B (July 8,2012)
Last week, I’ve noted in my homily the fact that whether we like it or not, we’ve got the responsibility to show care and concern for the whole of humanity. I mentioned about the issue of Asylum seekers who like the woman suffering of haemorrhage, are also wishing to ‘touch’ Australia because they believed that in here they would live a better and a secured life. We are indeed called to be in communion with this people, in their hopes, in their sufferings, in their longing for a peaceful and just life. Today’s readings offered us another important element without which our desire for communion would be too difficult to realize if not an impossible task to do. To achieve communion with all of humanity demands communion with God.
Communion with God is the message of the Prophets. This is the message of Jesus for all of us (in his life, mission, death, and resurrection) with today’s Gospel as one witness to it. Through communion with God in faith we can also establish communion with the rest of humanity especially in the cause of justice, love and peace. In latin ‘communion’ means ‘together’ or with (cum) and ‘one’, oneness, or union (unus). So, it means we (humanity and God) are together as one in the common cause. It is no wonder, the theme of communion is almost always evident in the preaching of the prophets. When we sin we broke up our relationship with God, so He would send a prophet to remind us that God wants to re-connect with us. However, to achieve real communion today is to understand first the real meaning of communion. Archbishop Chito Tagle of Manila, in his talk given during the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin, hinted that today the idea of communion can almost mean anything depending on who is talking about it. The Archbishop said: We see in our time so much exchange of words happening at high speed and across national boundaries. But unfortunately the world is as divided as ever. Why is communion not achieved in spite of the exchange of words? Because Jesus is not the word they share and receive. When financial wizards talk about ways of manipulating the economy for their own profit, you do not call that communion – that is corruption! When politicians talk to people about grand promises without intending to fulfill them, you do not call that communion – that is cheating! When the powerful “negotiate” among themselves while neglecting the weak, you do not call that communion – that is oppression! When so-called enterprising persons deal with each other on how women and children could be profitable merchandise [in the Philippines, there is still a great issue about Reproductive Health Bill], you do not call that communion – that is slavery!
To achieve real communion therefore, is to preach Jesus by living out our Christian faith in and through daily life, endeavours and work. ‘When communion consists in Jesus who is the Word of Life’ Archbishop Chito adds, ‘then the common good becomes central and that is pleasing to God’s eyes.’ We must preach Jesus then to others, because he is the one who shows us the real and perfect pattern of communion in the life of the Trinity. It might be hard to understand this mystery of our faith, but as one priest commented: ‘Though the mystery of the trinity is so difficult to unravel but the main thing is that they got on so well together, and so are we.’ We are not called to bring ourselves in preaching, says Bishop Joe on my ordination to the diaconate in 2010, but who we represent and who we stand for – Jesus Christ.’ The Bishop continued: ‘Make sure that you always give room to our God to console, heal, encourage, empower, forgive, rejoice, and to do whatever is necessary to our people.
By virtue of our baptism, we gained the privilege to hold our heads up high and preach Jesus to others because we share in the prophetic function of Jesus. Like Ezekiel in our First Reading today, we may face indifference, denial or even obstinacy from among the people but let’s keep up with it. Let’s do it and make people see ‘that there is a prophet from among them’ (Eze 2:5). In our preaching we may have to face our very selves, with our human limitations and weaknesses (thorn in the flesh) as St Paul had confessed in our Second Reading today (2 Cor12:7), but with Jesus, in Jesus and through him, we come to accept our own humanity and even allow God to utilize our weaknesses as his power to reach out to people. We may have to face rejection (even from among our closest relatives or friends) as Jesus had experienced in our Gospel today (Mk 6:1-6), but we know that with this experience of being ridiculed and not given credit, we are personally and intimately experiencing the experience that Jesus had. Thank God for our faith, because with it, we are and can be assured that who we are or what we have now is not all there is. With faith we can hope that there is something more, something greater and something better reserved for us if we just persevere to the end…while trying our best to keep in constant communion and communication with our God. Jesus shows us how to engage in this communication, so let’s keep his company and let’s not lose sight of him. Let this be our prayer.