January 16, 2021 – Saturday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/011621.cfm)
We find wisdom in the Bible. We find guidance and direction in our life in the Bible. We find answers to questions in life and we find comfort in times of crisis from the Word of God in the Bible. However, when one carefully listens also to God’s heart and mind in the Bible, we too are being challenged, disturbed and even scandalized the way God reveals His message and presence to us.
In today’s Gospel, we are reminded on how Jesus challenged, disturbed and scandalized some self-righteous Pharisees. Jesus called and made friends with people whom the Jews like the Pharisees hated. These were the tax-collectors who worked under the Romans and other known sinners. The action of Jesus by being with them, mingling and making friends with them was an insult to their old age belief of condemnation against the sinners.
However, Jesus was here to save the lost, forgive the sinners and bring back life to the dead. Jesus revealed, “I do not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” It must be very difficult to reconcile Jesus’ mind and heart to our own judgmental and condemning mind and heart. What we desire is revenge and hatred towards those we hate and those we ostracize for not following our standards.
The Letter to the Hebrews reminds us of this that we too should “come confidently to the throne of grace, to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.”
The tax collectors and the sinners have come confidently to Jesus and they received mercy and the grace of friendship with Jesus who renewed and transformed their life forever.
From all of these, we find how the Word of God does not only tell us stories of the past or events that happened in history. The Word of God indeed, continues to touch us today as we listen again to God’s voice speaking to us in today’s scriptures.
Again, the Letter to the Hebrews tells us, “The Word of God is living and effective sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.”
Thus, as we read and listen and allow our hearts to be filled with God’s presence through the Bible, let us allow also the Lord to challenge us, to disturb and scandalize our heart that has become cold and stiff. Let the living and effective Word of God bring forgiveness and peace in our hearts, as well as mercy and grace that will transform our way of life and relationship with one another. Hinaut pa.