Watch Fr. Pilmaiken’s homily for the 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019).
Love, according to Christian standards, is not so until it doesn’t hurt. Love for our family and friends is good but not enough, for this sort of love will be repaid in some way or another, and so in this way there’s not much sacrifice which will be repaid in some way and so not much sacrifice will be involved. “Even sinners love those who love them” (Lk 6:33) Jesus said in today’s Gospel. It is doubtless that we cannot build a better world with a love which is not clothed on self-sacrifice. So it is in the circumstances we are living as a Church today. A Church that needs to clothe herself with love beyond her strengths, to even deny herself to bring comfort to those who need it. In the recent Vatican summit addressing the abuse inflicted by clerics the general cry was for a more proactive Church than a reactive one on the abuse cases, to leave the comfort zone of mediocrity, hypocrisy and complacency. For that we need a Sacrificial Love, for love only wants the best for our neighbour, and corrects sin. Actions are being taken at the parish and diocesan level regarding instances of abuse, changing a culture of silence and complacency to listen to the voice of the victims and take action. A Sacrificial love is needed now, for it takes sacrificial love to “love our enemies, do good to those who hate us, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Lk 6:27).
An Inca warrior known by his violent temper, returned to his village after battling with colonizing forces, but also after being exposed to Christianity. When he got to his village, he told of the horrors of battle, and the difficulties he and his men went through. While telling all this to the people he was struck by a potato thrown by one of them. Retrieving it, he returned home, cut it up, planted it and harvested it. On another gathering of the village some time later, the warrior sought out the man who had thrown the potato and gave him the potato he had harvested. It takes sacrificial love to “give away even our shirt to one who runs away with our coat” (Lk 6:29). Of course, we are not asked to give away the second family car to some thief who has just stole the first car; but we are called to love those who hurt us in some way, at least by willing their good and reaching out in forgiveness. “Just as we have borne the image of the one of dust – Adam,” we are called to “bear the image of the one from heaven, Jesus” (2 Cor 15:49), who went as far as to forgive those who reviled him and persecuted him all the way to the cross.
Hence, the compassionate Christ, who many times is called the Son of David, was already prefigured in King David, of whom we heard in the first reading. David stealthy went into the camp of his enemy King Saul and had the sleeping king at his mercy, and yet David chose to show compassion sparing Saul’s life (1 Sam 26:9), however, the compassion shown by David, didn’t make him act thoughtlessly, – in the following chapter of the book of Samuel, says: “But David thought to himself, ‘One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul. The best thing I can do is to escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will give up searching for me anywhere in Israel, and I will slip out of his hand.’” (1 Sam 27:1)
And so the compassion of Christ only reflects God’s generous compassion, God’s bountiful mercy towards us. None of us would be left standing if God would apply all the rigours of his justice that we deserve. We humans may disregard compassion from our hearts for it may be perceived as a sign of weakness and as a sign of vulnerability, but God never does, his mercy knows no end. If we are truly children of the God whom we profess, how can we entrust our neighbour over to God’s mercy and show none of it ourselves? Besides, we are asked to pass on to other only the love and kindness which we receive from God. We are to become like ta lamp which sole purpose is to enlighten dark places, by spreading its light, and so we are called to do the same by remaining in God’s love, and by spreading HIS LOVE around.
But loving the unlovable and pardoning the unpardonable will always be
a painful sacrifice and the greatest pain is to love in vain. Will our
sacrificial love go in vain? Never. It will come back to us from God, “for the
measure you give will be measure you get back” (Lk 6:38). An old legend tells
about a farmer carrying a sack of grain on his shoulders and meeting the Good
Lord. “Give us some wheat,” said the Lord, So the farmer reached into the bag
and found one of the tiniest grains he had and gave it to him. God turned the
grain of wheat into gold and gave it back to the farmer. Then the farmer was
sorry that he had not given the Lord the whole bag. Therefore, we are encouraged
to not be reactive but proactive people; that instead of returning injury to
injury, that we may generate love where there is hatred and create life where
there is nothing, that our Christian love may not only be personally rewarding,
but that it will also serve as a chain that binds together the society we live
Martin Luther King was a great admirer of Gandhi. When a gang of racial fanatics set fire to King’s house, an Afro-American mob gathered, ready to take revenge. But he told them, “When you live by the rule ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,’ you end up with a nation of blind and toothless people.” Then he led the gathering in prayer for the white brothers who had burned his house. That is what the “Amazing Grace” of forgiveness, the central theme of today’s readings, is all about.
The first Book of Samuel speaks to us of many things, but most especially of the things from God and how the people of Israel strayed away from the Lord. Why did this people run away from the Lord? Is it because of their hearts? Is the hardness of heart that keep this people away from the Lord? One of the most important things we have to realize in this reading is the altruistic aspect of the Samuel. He became the most powerful king. His wisdom was beyond telling among the Israelites. But not only among the people of Israel. Also among the kings of nearby nations, so much so that people came to him looking for advise. How is it that Samuel got so much wisdom? It is because he was willing to hear the Lord’s voice.
There was a young man who prayed night and day. He longed to do God’s will in his life. Thus one day while this young man was sleeping, he heard a voice. The voice said: “Go and I show you a stone. I want you to push it.” When the young man woke up, he was fixed with the idea of finding the stone and start pushing it. Lo and behold he found the stone and he started pushing it. He pushed it all day long without moving it. He went home to recover energy. Next morning he went to the place where the boulder was and started to push it again. That became his daily routine.
Six months passed and the young grew tired of pushing the stone. He
went back with the determination of stopping such task. At night while he was
sleeping the voice which spoke to him months before talked again. The voice
said, “Why did you stop pushing the stone?” The perplexed young man said,
“Although I pushed the stone with all my strength and nothing happened; I
wasted my time pushing the stone all this time.” The voice replied, “Did I ask
you to move the stone? What I said at the time was to just push it. I will move
the stone when time comes. You just push it. And nothing happened? Look at you,
you are stronger than before, you build muscle and are more focused now.”
Sacrificial Love is Needed Now, Fr. Pilmaiken Lezano, 24/02/2019, 111.84 KB