Twenty First Sunday in Ordinary Time (A), August 24, 2014 – Is 22, 19-23; Rom 11, 33-36; Mt 16, 13-20
Oh, the depth of riches! (Rom 11, 33)
God welcomes us to his household, so that everything he has may be ours.
In his household, we are each handed a key. No matter which one we get, to receive it means to be a servant, it is to open to household members the treasures of divine love.
Unfortunately, we can be as irresponsible as the servant who, losing hope in his master, begins to abuse those he supervises and to turn into a hedonist. If we behave so, then, we shall soon find ourselves fired (or left aside as useless materials by the builder).
We can also leave like the prodigal son and suffer the fate of wastrels. Until we return to our Father, we will find ourselves in dire need.
Or we can stay home. But if we take for granted divine abundance, we will still feel empty, even though ours are the adoption, the new covenant, the God-with-us, and the table of the word and of the sacrament, the fullness of the promises.
And a servile attitude is hardly appreciative. Are we burdened by our religion? Let us try, then, the easy yoke and joyful Gospel.
Or perhaps, given some gains and certain pretensions, we feel entitled to everything. In this case, it will be good even for us Christians of strict observance to meditate on the parable of the Pharisee and the publican.
It may also be due to lack of experience of divine mercy. Obsessed with a God who does not leave unpunished even the slightest fault, we become terror-stricken. And who knows really if it is our vision of a harsh God that makes us treat others rigidly and deny them forgiveness or if it is our rigidity that makes us see a harsh God who does not forgive without punishing.
In the face of doubts, it is best to be careful, lest taking away the key of knowledge, we close the kingdom of God, because of our arrogant absolutism, to those who are trying to enter. Our intolerance can leave us fighting against God, as Gamaliel already warned. And as St. Vincent de Paul indicates, we cannot close ourselves mercilessly to those who disagree with us and then hope to win them over (Coste I:295).
We cannot be so zealous either for our traditions and prerogatives that we overlook the viri probati and the diligent women, faithful managers of everything entrusted to them, caring towards the poor. St. Vincent surely showed Moses’ and Jesus’ mind when he said: “Provided God’s work is done, it does not matter who does it” (Coste VIII:189). May the same inclusive Spirit prompt us to see to it that no one is deprived of the Eucharist.
Ross Reyes Dizon