October 11, 2020 – 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/101120.cfm)
A friend of mine once posted of his Facebook account his thoughts, he said, “I am so tired of searching for God.” From his post, it somehow suggested that God seemed not to be found. He was searching for God, and as I asked him about it, he said that he felt empty within, he felt that he could not find joy. And God seemed to have lost his way!
How could that be possible? That was what I thought when he said that God seemed not to be found! I heard this many times not just to that friend of mine. We have this belief that it is us, that we are the one searching for God, that we have been looking for Him. However, in our search for God, at the end, we surrender because we have never found God in our life. indeed, a person who searches God will surely not find God.
The difficulty lies in the fact that we have been looking and searching for something or someone that has never been lost. With this fact, I remembered my grandmother who at one time, was looking for her eye-glasses. She began to complain that her glasses were lost. When she seemed to become desperate, she looked at us, grandchildren and suspected that one of us might have hidden her glasses on purpose. However, looking at her, we were giggling. Well, the more she became irritated because she felt that we were joking around. Yet, one of my cousins told her to touch her head first. Then, that was how she realized that her glasses were never been lost. She was carrying the glasses with her on her head but forgot that those were there.
And this is very true with God. God has never lost his way. God stays with us and is always with us. Yet, there might be point in our life when we begin to claim that we are looking for him but cannot find him.
We naturally look and search for something or someone that we have lost. But how could we find something if it is not lost after all? In fact, our search for God is useless because we tend to search God outside instead of recognizing Him in our very life.
The parable that we have heard presents to us an image of Godthat Jesus wants to show to us today. It was the King who had the initiative to invite the people. He sent his servants to summon the invited guests not just once but twice so that the invited guests may also share in that joyful celebration. Prophet Isaiah also mentioned about this joyful feast in our first reading. The prophet described to us that promise of Yahweh of having a big celebration, the greatest party of all parties. That feast was an invitation meant for everyone. It would be a joyful one.
Now, this Sunday is also called as Extreme Poverty Day. With God’s promise and invitation to the heavenly banquet, we are also reminded of those who are dying because of poverty. People are dying because of lack opportunities to proper education, to a good healthcare system, access to food and clean water. While we are enjoying the comfort of our homes while in quarantine, many are suffering because they have no roof on their head or even a bed to rest at night and food to eat. And because of the comfort that we enjoy, we could become dismissive and indifferent to the suffering of others.
Indifference was the attitude shown by the people who refused God’s invitation. People refused and ignored that wonderful invitation because they had other priorities. That invitation was rejected because it was not considered as something important.
Certainly, this parable reminds us of our passive and complacent attitudes towards the needs of others and of the many invitations of God. God invites us first to be with Him, to join with Him and enjoy His abiding presence in our sacraments, here in our liturgy and in our daily prayers, etc. but then, we find ourselves also to have many excuses. We claim that we have been so busy with life and work and we have been bombarded by personal and family problems, and with different demands. Consequently, God remains the least priority.
But then, Jesus teaches us of an image of God who invites us, who asks and proposes to us not just once but in every opportunity of our life. God invites us to be with him and to trust in him not just in times of sorrows and pain but also in times of joy and laughter, and even in the most ordinary times.
And this is the truth; it is God who has been searching and inviting us. He has been looking for us and he patiently waits for us to allow him to find us. Yes, it is actually God who always initiates. God takes the risk of being rejected. But though God has been rejected many times, God never lost the confidence to invite us again and again. God always searches for the human heart and once God finds us, He invites us to come to him.
“Thus, we don’t search for God because it is Him who has been searching for us. We are not the first one to invite God to come to us because God invited first to be with Him.”Tweet
This is the call for us now this Sunday. “Allow God to search for us and to allow him to invite us.”
It is in this attitude that we will be able to listen to his many invitations and will inspire us to say YES to God. This is an affirmation to his invitation to recognize his presence in our life and with others.
That’s why, the special celebration of the Church today in remembering the Indigenous Peoples calls us too to acknowledge their presence in our church and society. To acknowledge their presence is to give due respect to their culture and rights, and that as a Christian community, we too have the responsibility to help our Indigenous brothers and sisters to join us in our every celebration. With this, we will truly become a community that embraces one another, making our hearts be filled with joy and contentment, with confidence and love. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR