Mission Society of the Philippines

Homilies

27th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME: THE HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN SALVATION

Mt 21: 33-43
 
ONE CAN EXPERIENCE rejection anywhere. It is something we often encounter in our journey through life. In a family, for example, we can often find a member or two who are rejected by parents or siblings. Leaders too are often victims to rejection. In a multicultural society, people belonging to a minority group or class often experience rejection. 
 
As the gospel suggests, the history of Christianity is a history of rejection. It is a story filled with rejections. If we look back to our history of salvation, God first sent prophets to be his servants in his vineyard. But they were killed by the so-called “tenants” of the Lord’s vineyard. Afterwards, God sent his only Son, thinking that the tenants may “respect my son.” But again, Jesus was handed to the elders and chief priests, and was killed. 
 
Although Christianity has been considered as one of the major religions in the world, the picture does not seem to appear good these days. Seemingly, we go back to the old weakness which we call rejection. In other words, the story of rejection happens or continues to our day. Let me give you some examples of present-day rejection. Firstly, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was saddened by the hesitation of the European leaders to include Christianity as part of the European constitution. The truth is: Christianity has been part of the history of Europe, but its leaders seem to reject it. Secondly, secularized Catholics no longer find the value of Catholic faith. The diminishing number of Church attendance, particularly in secularized countries, is an indication of rejection of faith. Thirdly, the “pick-and–choose” mentality of Christians/Catholics is an index of rejection. Most often we compromise our faith or the things that we believe. 
 
What shall we do with this phenomenon that we call rejection? 
 
Firstly, there has to be a renewed appreciation of Christ. Modernity, secularism, and materialism have been the causes of utter rejection of God. People are too confident that they can live all by themselves. Their drive toward independence and freedom causes them to distance or even to forget Christ in their lives. However, these are also a people their lives meaningless. In the face of adversity and failures, these are a people who easily “end” their lives because they no longer find life’s meaning. Once we have Christ with us, we won’t be carried away during the times of difficulties because we will remain hopeful.
 
Secondly, we must cherish the beauty of our faith. Some Catholics who distance themselves from the Church would blame the Church for being indifferent to them. Ironically, these were a people who did not live out their faith; people who did not actively practice their faith; people who did not participate in the Church’s activities. They do not try the understand the beauty of the sacraments that we, Catholics, have. In the sacrament of the Eucharist, for instance, we experience Christ present in us and is living. Other Christian churches do not have this sacrament. And this is our treasure. Actually, their indifference and inactivity of some Catholics resulted to lack of appreciation and knowledge of their faith.
 
Thirdly, we need to be reminded that our acceptance of Christian teachings must be total. Most of the time, we compromise what we believe in. If the Church teaching appears uncomfortable and burdensome to us, we would not pick or take it. For instance, the Church teaches the evil of contraception. But legislators persuade people to do otherwise because it is “practical.” But not all that is practical is moral. If the Church insists what she teaches, it is so because it is moral and is in accordance to God’s will. Therefore, we are called to accept it and follow it without compromises. We do not simply pick and choose what we like or want. Rather, our acceptance to these teachings should be total. Amen.
 

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