From the pastor’s desk
Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time-Year C– “Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate”
In our contemporary times, there are so many illnesses that people suffer from. These range from rashes, headaches, emotional and psychological disorders up to various kinds of cancer and terminal illnesses that cannot be explained. But many times their root-causes cannot be pin-pointed unless proper diagnosis are made. Proper psycho-analyses could lead people into their sub-conscious to uncover the bugging problems. Many illnesses are caused by body-mind problems which are psychosomatic or soma-psychic in nature. The problem is that many people are carrying around bitterness, hurts, grudges, feeling of resentment, un-forgiveness and many others. These result to illnesses of various kinds.
Today, we come to realize that these will not help us. To err is human, but to forgive is divine. God does not want us to engage in resentment and grudges. God is our Father who is compassionate, merciful and loving who does not want the death of the sinner but his or her repentance and conversion.
David who spared the life of King Saul who came out with the full might of his army searching to destroy him, is a great model for us. He was a better Christian before the coming of Jesus. David did not want to harm the Lord’s anointed even though he was erring by seeking to kill him (David). On two different occasions, David spared the life of King Saul who was on expedition to eliminate him. As a result of the leniency of David towards King Saul, God blessed him and eventually, he became the King of Israel.
Jesus wants his disciples to live in imitation of him, in being the reflection of the Father’s love, mercy,and compassion. He wants us to imitate the Father who allows his sun to shine on both his friends and enemies alike, who allows his rain to fall on the fields of his friends and enemies. The Father bestows his blessings on both his friends and enemies. That is why Jesus tells us to love our enemies. He wants us to do good things to those who hate us; to bless those who curse us and to pray for those who maltreat us.
Jesus enjoins on us to be compassionate like God our Father, not to judge, not to condemn. He wants us to pardon. This was very revolutionary against the Law of Moses of seeking a tooth for a tooth and an eye for an eye. Jesus now perfects the golden rule which states that we should do unto others as we want others to do unto us. The emphasis is now that we are all sinners in need of God’s mercy. If we want mercy from God, we should show mercy to others. We should not deny others what we want from God.
Jesus means what he tells us. That is why he teaches us in the words of “Our Father,” “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” He makes his teaching the conditions on which we can get hearing from God in our prayers. On the Cross, he did what he taught us by praying for his executioners: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” After his resurrection, he went in search of his disciples, who deserted him during his passion and crucifixion, in order to offer them the gift of peace and reconciliation, sending them to continue his divine mandate.
Following Jesus and imitating his ways, doing what he did, as earthly men and women resembling the man from earth, we shall likewise bear the image of the man from heaven, Jesus Christ the Son of God.
Let our love be sincere; let us love one another with mutual affection and anticipate one another in showing honor (Romans 12:9-21).
Rev. Fr. Michael Onyekwere, SDV, PhD