Ordinary Time 26, Year B

If God is for us, who can be against us? (Rom. 8:31)

According to immigration lawyers, courts have held that U.S. citizenship is too valuable a right to lose by accident. If one, for example, unaware that he can be a citizen because of blood relationship to a citizen, fails to meet the a U.S. residency requirement, and thus misses the chance to become a citizen, he can still claim citizenship if it can be established that the missed opportunity is due to ignorance.

If earthly citizenship is given that much value (not too long ago a former professor reminded me that, “with Christ’s coming, nationality matters little, not to say, not at all”), how much more value should be attached to the election or adoption of men by God. It should be held then, I think, that this election or adoption is so valuable that one should not be excluded, prevented, or prohibited, just because one happens to be left in the camp and is not in the gathering, or one is not “one of us,” to use apostle John’s words. Unfortunately, I show myself not infrequently to be more jealous for God’s or Jesus’ sake than either of them is for himself or his causes, and I end up being intolerant. Could it be because I think like some flies, which, once on the back a water buffalo, end up believing themselves bigger than the water buffalo? Or could it be because I try to cover up, perhaps unconsciously, my gnawing insecurity and my lack of commitment with words of jealousy or gestures of concern? I have but forgotten St. Paul’s statement that no one can bring charges against God’s chosen ones nor can anyone condemn them, and that no other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:33-39).

But if there is anything that can separate one from God’s people or Christ’s body, this will be not having eyes and a heart directed toward the poor and the little ones in the world whom God choose to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom promised to those who love him, not paying attention to them, causing them to sin, committing against them acts of injustice that are not altogether unrelated to those that were committed against the righteous poor who offered no resistance. In the end really, one is finally included or excluded on the basis of whether one has helped or not the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, or the imprisoned, on the basis of whether or not one is mindful of the poor (Gal. 2:10).

The ultimate and main criterion, then, for inclusion or exclusion is the welcome given to the least of Lord’s brothers and sisters. It is owing to this criterion that there really should not be either Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, circumcised or uncircumcised (cf. Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11). And meeting this criterion is more important than not being maimed, not being crippled, not being blind in one eye, just as having the citizenship of the kingdom is more valuable that having the citizenship of any country in the world.