Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

This Sunday we are treated to one of the most beautiful passages in the Bible. It is found in the Letter of St. Paul to the Philippians. Paul begins by telling us to be kind, and loving, and merciful to each other. We are to put the interests of others above ourselves. And then he tells us about Jesus. He says that we should have the same attitude in life as Jesus had. He was forever God, but he did not regard this as something to be grasped. Instead He emptied Himself of His Divinity. He became a human being. More than this, He became a slave for all of us. And He obeyed His Father for our sakes, even when this obedience led to His death on the cross[1].

This followed with an Christological hymn: Because of this God has bestowed on Him the name that is above every other name; so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, both in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father.

It is difficult for us to explain our belief in Jesus. He is not just a theory, an intellectual doctrine. He is a living person. We have a personal relationship with Him. We go through our days speaking to Him and listening for Him to speak to us. We know that He is the eternal Son of the Father, the Word of God present from the beginning of creation. But that is not how we relate to Him or He to us. He is our closest friend, our deepest Love. We look at the Cross and are amazed at the extent of His Love for us.

He is God, and yet, He became one of us, more than that, He became a slave for us. A slave serves the needs of his master without considering the impact on his life. Jesus came to serve us. He came to free us from the grasp of materialism. He came to renew the quest for the spiritual within us. He came to restore us to that place in creation that we deserted out of pride and selfishness.

Be like Him St. Paul says in the first reading. Serve others. Stop being selfish. Look at others as more important than yourself. This is difficult. We would like to think that the world revolves around us and our wants. But it does not. The world is the Lord’s.

With the Grace of God, we can do the work of God. But this is work, and work is hard. Work takes time and strength. Work means exhausting ourselves to understand, in your case, of your husband or wife, your children, your parents. In my case, the people God calls me to serve.

We are called to work in the Father's vineyard. The vineyard is your house and my house. The vineyard is your life and my life. The vineyard is that place where others are reaching out to us, seeking the love of Christ in us. They long for Jesus. And they can find Him. They can find Him within us. Within us as Church and within us as individuals.

What is the reality of Jesus in your lives, in my life? How real is He to you? Can we all realize that through the Grace of God, Jesus’ presence is stronger and His Life is more meaningful now than ever before? This is not a matter of feeling; it is a matter of recognizing reality. Everything is for Jesus. Everything that matters in the world flows from Him and leads to Him.

St. Paul put it so beautifully in those closing words of today’s second reading: God has bestowed on Him the name that is above every other name; so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, both in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father.

He is ours. And we are His. We pray today for the courage to serve the Father as He served Him, emptying ourselves of our selfishness, humbling ourselves before our God, loving Him until the day that we are totally united to our Tremendous Lover ■

[1] Sunday 28th September, 2008. Readings: 26th Sunday Ordinary Time. Readings: Ezekiel 18:25-28. Remember your mercies, O Lord—Ps 24(25):4-9. Philippians 2:1-11. Matthew 21:28-32. [St Wenceslas, Ss Laurence Ruiz & Cc.]

Ilustration: Jan van Eyck, The Ghent Altarpiece: The Soldiers of Christ (1427-30), Oil on wood, 149, 2x 54 cm, Cathedral of St Bavo (Ghent).

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris