From the pastor’s desk
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time-Year C– Why are we here ? Who do we live for?
From time immemorial, people have been asking the fundamental questions: where do we come from? What are we here for? Where are we going to? What is the purpose for which we are here? What is the goal of life? The answers to these questions have been approached from different angles from the ancient times by religious men and women, as well as, philosophers. In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle sees happiness as the goal of all life. He says that the achievement of happiness is the telos or the end goal of every man or woman, because all activities done by humans are in quest or in attainment of something that is good. No one does something because it will be bad. Rather, the person does it for the perceived good. In the Catechism, we were asked: “why did God make you?” We answered: “God made me to know him, to love him, to serve him and to be with him here and hereafter.” With this, we have the obligation to live for God: to have God as our end goal, our telos or supreme good.
After giving the people the commandments, Moses told them that he was setting before them ‘life and prosperity, death and destruction.’ He says: “ I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them…then curses and destruction will follow you (see Deuteronomy 30:15-20).”
In line with these and the other Old Testament wisdom literature and injunctions, Jeremiah sets before us today the way of curse and the way of blessedness. ‘The man or woman who trusts in God’ and hopes in him, is blessed, ‘like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream.’ Jesus teaches on the plain, outlining for us conditions of blessedness and woes. In his teaching, those who are poor are blessed, the hunger will be filled, etc. There will be a reversal of conditions in the end.
Jesus forms his disciples with these teachings. He wants them to learn his ways and to follow him even in conditions of deprivation and sacrifice. The true disciple of Christ will not give up hope in difficult conditions of life, but will draw strength from the Lord Jesus who though was rich, emptied himself to enrich us. He was deprived of his life and by his resurrection offers us life. ‘Raised from the dead,’ Christ is ‘the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
In baptism, each of us has become a disciple of Jesus, who is given life through the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. The Christ-event must be our life, leading us to make choices each moment between life and death, blessings and curses, happiness and unhappiness. Our choices are inspired by who we live for. If we love God and have him as our ultimate and supreme good, we must choose the things that will lead us to that goal of union or oneness with God. We must avoid things that will deprive us of the happiness of seeing God face to face. We must use all means at our disposal to seek God and to be with him here and hereafter.
Rev. Fr. Michael Onyekwere, SDV, PhD