“Islands of mercy in the midst of the sea of indifference”

by | Feb 3, 2015 | Formation, Reflections

Vincent EucharistFifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B), February 8, 2015 – Job 7, 1-4. 6-7; 1 Cor 9, 16-19. 22-23; Mk 1, 29-39

To the weak I became weak (1 Cor 9, 22)

Jesus says to those of us who, like the anguished Job, bemoan our miseries in this valley of tears: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”

The invitation is for all the afflicted, for those who are to blame and not to blame for their situation. Not only does our Lord not rush to the conclusion that sufferings are the punishment for the sins of those who suffer; it does not matter to him either that those who are troubled are sinners, for he has come precisely to call them. In the face of so many people who are enduring all kinds of adversities and diseases, Jesus is not concerned about passing moral judgments; he is first and foremost moved with pity.

No, Jesus has not come to judge but to save. He has been anointed and sent to be good tidings to those who suffer. Time will come when he will separate sheep from goats, but for now his mission is to be a compassionate brother to the least ones in the human family. No doubt, prayer helps him to stay in solidarity with them and remain faithful to his mission.

Jesus’ solidarity with those who suffer makes clear that we humans cannot let ourselves be defined on the basis of our well-being or our lack of it. What defines us is our likeness to our Creator. We will achieve our true identity only if we are the authentic images of God. He is rich in kindness and fidelity, so merciful and faithful he keeps coming along with us, a stiff-necked people, saving us not “merely as individuals, without bond or link between one another,” but rather, “as one people” (Lumen Gentium 9).

So then, our salvation, our sanctification, our wholeness, lies in solidarity: that of God-with-us with human beings and that of human beings one with another. It is impossible for us to be delivered from misery without solidarity. This implies compassion, without which, one cannot really be a Christian or human even, as St. Vincent de Paul teaches (FRXII:271). Salvation cannot be privatized.

We attain solidarity, of course, only by taking the yoke of the one who became poor for our sake, by becoming what we receive in the Eucharist: the Body of Christ.

Grant us, Lord, to be of one heart and mind, so that there may no longer be any poor person among us.

Ross Reyes Dizon

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