October 18, 2020 – 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time; World Mission Sunday
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/101820.cfm)
You must be familiar with our own inconsistencies like for example, being a devout Christian in the Church but a vicious neighbor at home. Or being a devout Catholic on Sundays, but a corrupt person at work. Or observing faithfully religious devotions and practices but dishonest and unfaithful in our relationships. These are some of our inconsistencies that perhaps where we could ourselves.
To be trapped in this kind of way of life makes us similar to the Pharisees who were only after gaining praise and recognition from others but filled with insecurities and evil intentions deep within. However, being a Christian, to be a Catholic is not just limited with our explicit observation of rituals, doing devotional practices and prayers. Our very identity rests on who God is to us. For us to discover and understand this a bit deeper, let us explore more our readings this Sunday and grasp God’s invitations for us, as Christians and at the same time as citizens.
Prophet Isaiah in our first reading tells us who God is. Twice, Yahweh said, “I am the Lord and there is no other.” It affirms the power of God and that all others are subjected to him. Yahweh is supreme for in Him everything came into being. He is the source of all riches, all things and all life. That is why, King Cyrus of Persia who was considered by the Hebrews at that time, as God’s anointed, was only a subject to God’s power. Cyrus was chosen by God even though Cyrus did not know God.
Thus, our highest praise and worship only belongs to God who has called us and who blessed us with so many things. Our psalm also affirms this as it says, “Give the Lord glory and honor.”
St. Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians gives us the hint on how to give true glory and honor to God. It is through “preaching the Gospel” in words and in deeds. This is our calling, the vocation of every Christian, of every believer of Jesus Christ.
In the Gospel, Jesus reminded us of our identity, duties and responsibilities as we are to give Caesar what belongs to Caesar (which means the Emperor of Rome) but to give God what belongs to God. Yes, we are citizens of this Republic but we are also Christians.
It means that…
We have the duty to give due respect to our political leaders. To support and to cooperate with the leaders of the land. But remember, “they are not gods,” they are not to be worshipped.
Thus, we are called to be responsible citizens of our country by exercising our rights as to vote during elections and even to protest when a law or a leader becomes oppressive to the people.
We are called also to participate and cooperate in ways that will make our society peaceful, harmonious, just and progressive. We are called to do our duties well as citizens and to exercise justice and responsible leadership especially with those who are working in the government.
But remember that we too are Christians. We are called to preach Christ, to preach the Gospel by our life, whoever we are and wherever we are.Tweet
Are you a vendor, a driver, a teacher? You are called to preach the Gospel. Are you an engineer, a nurse, doctor, a lawyer? You are called to preach Christ. Are you a Tanod, Brgy Captain, a City Councilor, Mayor, Congressman? You too are called to preach the Gospel and to give glory and honor to God who has blessed you, who gave you influence, your family and friends and all the things you are enjoying now.
Each of us is called to give glory and honor to God by our words, our deeds, through our professions, through our work and role in our society. It is in this way that we will be able to give to God what is due to Him.
This call that we share as Catholic Christians of our country reminds us of what we celebrate today, the World Mission Sunday! This Sunday tells us that we priests, deacons, and religious are not the only ones who are called to preach the Gospel but each one of us. We who experienced and witnessed God’s goodness and mercy are called in the mission of preaching and spreading Christ to all, not just in our words but also in our actions.
This identity makes us different from the rest of other Christian denominations because the call to preach the Gospel of Christ is not only limited in our Eucharistic celebration. My faith and your faith, is not only confined within the walls of our Church for an hour on Sundays.
Our Christian belief, our confidence in the risen Christ calls us to actively participate and to involve ourselves in all aspects of human life and the whole community not just in the spiritual aspect but also in cultural, social, economic and political aspect of life. This is the beauty of being a Christian and a citizen.
May we always remember this and become true Christians in the way we live our life, in the way we perform our work and in the way we relate with others and with one another so that we will be able to give God what truly belongs to Him and become true to our identity as Christians and citizens. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR