Spiritual readings for Sunday 1st October
25 September 2017 CGI news
Week of 25th September (reference: readings of Sunday, 1st October)
26th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Reading: Phil 2,1-11; Mt 21,28-32
"Have among yourselves the same feeling that exists in Jesus Christ."
To be a prostitute or a tax collector at the time of Jesus was the worst thing that could be. The prostitutes were excluded from society and the tax collectors were considered thieves. Jesus intensely offends the high priests and elders of the temple (intellectuals and the powerful) calling them "worse than prostitutes and publicans". Did Jesus want to despise the poor prostitutes or those considered as sinners (publicans)?
No! Jesus wanted the intellectuals and the powerful to wake up and stop judging others. He wanted these people to look upon themselves. He mentioned that they had rejected John the Baptist; however, the sinners had repented and converted; they also rejected Him. Jesus wants us to do the same: to wake up and look within us.
In the parable, we are told that a man had two sons, and approaching the first one, he said: My son, today go and work in my vineyard. He answered: I don't want to go; but later, repentant, he went there. And approaching the other son, he told him to do the same; and the son replied: Yes, Sir, I will go. And he did not. Obviously, the best thing would be a conjunction in the attitude of both and that the son who did not go, would do what the father had requested. But if that was the case, the parable would not have the message that Jesus wanted to give to the priests and elders of the Temple who were considered the guardians of the law: they lived judging others only by the norms, but did very little of what they preached; and they were not punished, because they were powerful.
The reproach of Jesus aims at who gives more value to appearances than to the essence, to words than to practice, to the outside than the inside. In Matthew 7.21, Jesus reinforces this idea, saying that "it is not who says to me: ‘Lord, Lord’, who will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven".
This reflection goes in the same direction as the ones that we have done in recent weeks.
As Vincentians, we have the grace to be able to do much more than talk. Ozanam asks us to do, in our hidden action, with few words, what St. Paul tells us in the 2nd Reading of this Sunday. He says: "Have among yourselves the same feelings that Jesus Christ had, who, being of divine nature, did not consider himself equal with God, but emptied himself taking the form of a servant, made in likeness of men; and, showing himself the same as other men, he humbled himself becoming obedient to death" Verse (5-7).
No matter how "intellectual and powerful" we are, when we do our apotolates, our words and knowledge are worthless if we do not empty ourselves, put into practice and assume the condition of slaves, making us equal to the assisted person. I would go further: making us inferior to them. In other words, rather than be like the rude son that, nonetheless, did the will of the Father, God gives the Vincentian the opportunity of being like a polite son who says 'yes' and that, in addition to be well-mannered, does the will of the Father. It is really up to us.
And, as Vincentians, we have the opportunity to do the will of the Father, not only in the house of the persons we serve, but also in the Society itself. If all Vincentians are servants of one another, we live in the perfection and in the unity so much highlighted by Paul in his letter to the Philippians of this week. The SSVP is more than the addition of its members: unity makes us a network of charity that can do so much to transform the world, our country, and/or our diocese. Let's be like Christ: let us empty ourselves and we will be filled with the mission entrusted to us by Ozanam, in unity and at the service to the Poor and to our fellow members.