(Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Sunday, October 14, 2018
You may use wealth either to die or to live: 1. The wealth leading to death is the wealth that is not shared among all; it is the wealth a person keeps for himself beyond what is necessary for the satisfaction of his needs. It is the wealth a person cannot share with the poor. In brief, the wealth leading to death is that which is not used for the satisfaction of the needs of all.
To tell the rich man: “Go, sell what you have, and give it to the poor” (Mark 10:21) means “your” wealth belongs to those who need it. The wealth, which leads to death, therefore, is that which is accumulated in a few hands.
This wealth becomes so desirable to the rich man, that he cannot live without it; it becomes an addiction; it generates a dependency almost impossible to depart from. “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:25). This wealth indeed turns itself against the person who possesses it.
2. The Wealth leading to life goes beyond the possession of material goods. This wealth is used for the satisfaction of the needs of all. If the rich man had sold his possessions and given them to the poor, he would have ended his deadly wealth and taken over the wealth of life.
The wealth of life consists in the caring and harmonious relationships between people. This wealth does not take possession over anybody; on the contrary, it allows them to live to the fullest as members of a united humanity.
When, in order to acquire the wealth of life, we give up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for the sake of life, we will receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands (Mark 10:29-30).
(Twenty-seven Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Sunday, October 7, 2018
Where does division come from?
– In our economic institutions. Division appears when the employer exploits the laborer, when the producer raises prices in the detriment of the consumer, when the owner of the means of production makes himself rich by making the worker poor.
– In our political institutions. Division appears when the rulers abuse their citizens, when the rulers protect their own interests at the expense of the interests of the people, when the rulers make promises they never intend to fulfill.
– In international relations. Division appears when the powerful nations of the world subjugate weaker nations, when countries dispossess other countries of their natural and human resources.
– In family life. Division appears when the relations between husband and wife are based on selfish motivations, deceit and lies. And of course, such division affects the well-being of the spouses and their children. Is it possible to eliminate division?
Apparently, our world doesn’t believe so!. People usually say it is impossible to live in unity and peace. Some believe such unity can only exist in the minds of children who know nothing about the “real world.” That is precisely what the world does not understand: Whoever does not accept, like a child, that the world belongs to all, will not be able to live in it. (Mark 10:15).
(Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Sunday, September 30, 2018
The biblical texts cited here are from the Letter of James, chapter 5, verses 1-6. (We have used the word “capitalist” instead of the word “rich”)
Who are the capitalists?: They are those whose ultimate purpose in life is the accumulation of wealth for their own selfish interests. For them, other human beings are but mere “tools” to make wealth. How are the capitalists identified: They are identified by the manner in which they acquire wealth, and by the manner in which they use it. I. The manner in which they acquire wealth. They acquire wealth by withholding the wages from the laborers who work in their factories … and the cries of the laborers have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts (James 5:4). II. The manner in which they use their accumulated wealth. The capitalists use wealth in two ways:
1) They use it only for themselves: “You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure; you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter” (James 5:5).
2) They use it as a means of domination: “You have condemned; you have murdered the righteous one; he offers you no resistance” (James 5:6).
(Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Sunday, September 23, 2018.
If you want to be successful in life, you must know yourself and the world surrounding you.
You must have the courage to ask questions about anything you do not understand, even though getting the answers may complicate your life. For it is better to know the answers than to remain in ignorance.
If you want to ask the right questions in your life, you must turn to the wisdom of God, which “is first of all, pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity.” The wisdom of God “is sown in peace for those who cultivate in peace” (James 3:17, 18). Therefore, the wisdom of God gives you the strength you need to remove your fears to ask questions concerning your life.
Listen to the answers from God, he advises you to become like a child, innocent, leaving aside all malice and ill-intent.
Just imagine a world where all those in positions of authority decide to possess the innocence of a child, to rid themselves of all malice and ill-intent. For sure, our world would be a different place.
On the other hand, if you resort to the wisdom of the world, you will find yourself involved in “bitter jealousy and selfish ambition . . . disorder and every foul practice” (James 3:14).
Sunday, September 16, 2018
(Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time)
If you want to live well, seek the well-being of others.
If you do nothing for the well-being of others, you will be successful according to worldly standards, you will have power, riches, and dominion over others, you will look after your own interests with no regard for those of other people. Remember, however, that: “whoever wishes to save his life will lose it” (Mark 8:35).
If you care for the well-being of others, you must place yourself in a position of radical departure from the powers and dominions of the world. In other words, you must demonstrate, with your own life that you seek the welfare of others before your own. You must seek unity, equality, and respect for all. Furthermore, it is not enough to side with the poor but, more importantly, you must become one of them.
Thus, “whoever loses his life for my [Christ’s] sake and that of the gospel will save it” (Mark 8:35).
If you care for the well-being of others, you will not only expose the “weapons” of an evil world, but, most importantly, you will demonstrate that life is more powerful than death.
(Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Sunday, September 9, 2018
If you want to be all you can be, and have everything you need, all you need to do is acknowledge that God is in you.
God offers himself to you totally, i.e. when he speaks to you, listen. When he gives you his life, take it all, nothing less, nothing more. You must receive from God all he has for you, or else you will not be able to receive him at all. What does God do for you? – God brings you good health: “Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the dumb will sing. Streams will burst forth in the desert, and rivers in the steppe. The burning sands will become pools” (Isaiah 35:4-7).
– God “secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry . . . sets prisoners free . . . gives sight to the blind . . . raises up those who are bowed down . . . protects the stranger, sustains the orphan and the widow” (Psalm 146:7-9).
– God makes it possible for “those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom” (James 2:5).
(Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Sunday, September 2, 2018
1.- Religion means that God lives in you. That is to say, your life must be an expression of what there is inside you, and what comes out of you are the works of God himself.
Once you allow God to live within you, you acquire the ability to bring the life of God into the world through the testimony of your own life.
2.- Religion is not imposed by external commandments because they always imply an imposition, which denies the option to accept or reject. External laws are imposed upon us, and carry a coercive punishment if the law is not obeyed. Whether we are motivated or not, we are obligated to abide by the external law. And any imposition hinders our spiritual and emotional maturity.
3.- Religion goes beyond the boundaries of a societal institution. The institutions we create must have the same spirit of the God who lives in us. Otherwise, an institution is not representative of the spirit of God.
(Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Sunday, August 26, 2018.
True life means to live in unity with one another. If we fail to do so, our life ceases to be life and becomes a useless and senseless existence, even destructive.
When God establishes his unity with us, he tells us: “My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink” (John 6:55). This means that whenever we accept God’s unity, we take for ourselves his truth, totally, for he is total truth; we become free for he is true freedom; we become people of service and peace because he is true service and true peace; we become people of compassion and justice because he is true compassion and true justice. Without this truth, humanity cannot go on living.
However, many refuse to enter into a total unity with God because such unity implies our unity with all our fellow human beings.
Those who are asked to live in unity with others, usually respond: “This saying is hard; who can accept it?.” And those who reject unity, “return to their former way of life” (John 6:60, 66). That is, to their life of antagonism, lies, emptiness, and self-destruction.
Live in unity with one another “out of reverence” for God (Ephesians 5:21). Be committed to one another just as God is committed to humankind.
Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Sunday, August 19, 2018.
“Come, eat of my food, and drink of the wine I have mixed! Forsake foolishness that you may live, advance in the way of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:4-6).
You can truly possess life, just as by the action of “eating and drinking” a person can nurture his physical life.
Our world is lacking in life: “These are evil days” (Ephesians 5:16) because man’s life has become radically distorted, and what is death, is taken as if it were life. Such is the case when war is chosen over peace, when the appropriation of wealth by a few is acceptable in spite of producing the impoverishment of many.
We must “not continue in ignorance, but [must] try to understand what is the will of the Lord” (Ephesians 5:17). The world seems to ignore the struggle between good and evil; the struggle between life and death. The world believes that money is more valuable than life, that conflict is preferable to harmony.
(Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Sunday, July 29, 2018
You will reach the highest quality of life when you “live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-4). Here is how you live a life of the highest quality: – A life of humility, that is, a life whereby you treat everybody as equal to you. True humility is the recognition of our equality, in that we all share the same human nature.
– A life of gentleness, that is, a life whereby you respect everybody. Gentleness is the courage to respect one another.
– A life of patience, that is, a life whereby you never give up, even though your efforts to bring about equality may not be immediately fruitful.
– A life whereby you support everybody, accept others in your efforts to strengthen the unity among us. That is true love.
– A life of peace whereby you do not cause any harm to anyone, whereby everything is done in the best interest of one another.