February 17, 2023 – Friday 6th week Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/021723.cfm)
The Book of Genesis speak of the human tendency to be proud and arrogant. And the tower of Babel tells us of this human aspiration to be powerful and become like God, as people said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and tower with its top in the sky, and so make a name for ourselves.” Yet, this made the people to be exclusive and arrogant.
Indeed, the tower of Babel expressed earthly power and riches. Humanity believed that these things were enough for them to make a name for themselves and become powerful like God who created the world. Hence, as those who built the city and the tower, became exclusive, they also refused God’s command to fill the earth. The people decided to just stay in that place, in that city and not anymore share their knowledge, experiences, graces and riches in other parts of the earth. They have become comfortable there to the point that they did not want to go out from their comforts.
However, it was said that the Lord had seen this and realized as well the evil intentions in the hearts of the people. This was the reason why the Lord scattered them by confusing and dividing them. When they spoke differently, people did not understand and did not care to understand each other.
From here, we realize that our human efforts and aspirations when they only come from greed, pride and arrogance to become great and powerful like God, are certainly worthless. Our mere human success, wealth and power are not the keys to be great in the eyes of God.
This realization brings us then into the message of our Gospel today. Jesus expressed a way of life that was different from the people who tried to build a city and the tower of Babel. Jesus tells us that to be a true disciple of him is not about boasting oneself, of our successes in life, of our influence and power over others. A true disciple, rather, is a person who denies himself for the sake of others, who carries his own cross and follows Jesus. A true Christian then is a person who remains humble before God, who recognizes his/her smallness and dependence, yet, also embraces the presence of God who gives him/her the strength to carry the cross.
Let us remember, that human effort and strength and our successes in life are not evil. In fact, these are gifts from the Lord and not reasons that we become greedy and self-righteous people. What we have received, achieved or accumulated in this life give us the opportunities to be able to share our gifts, our talents and ourselves to our community.
This calls us now that our families, groups, organizations, and communities become inclusive and welcoming. Indeed, to be inclusive and to be hospitable are natural to a Christian home, to a Christian organization or community. May that spirit lead us to give, to share and to reach out even to those who are different from us. Hinaut pa.