THE GOLDEN YEARS

FATHER ROGER'S REFLECTIONS

21st SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (B)

WHOM DO YOU CHOOSE?

"Do you also want to leave?" (Gospel)

In recent weeks we saw athletes in competition at the Olympics.  These athletes had common goals, competed for a common end.  They were seeking the same trophy, the gold medal. 

In the weeks to come, we will be witnessing another competition, the placing of one man in the White House as President of the United States.  However, this time, we do not necessarily have common goals and this very simple difference makes it important for voters not to rely on the power of the person, but to choose what are the objectives we want for our country.

A TIME TO CHOOSE.

We are so accustomed in many situations of life to let others do the choosing for us: either by letting others do the voting, or by following the suggestions of friends, relatives or neighbors in our choice. We tend to swerve in the direction of the people we hang around with. However, this time the question is more than left or right, conservative or progressive, democrat or republican.  This time there is more at stake.  The very essence of our being: life, faith, happiness, holiness, freedom, religion,marriage, health,security and much more is in danger of being lost depending on what choices we make. We have the power in our vote to destroy or repair America.

Joshua speaks to our generation when he bids us make a choice: “decide today whom you will follow.” To the many who found it difficult to accept the gift of the Eucharist and the offering of eating the Body of Christ and drinking his blood, there is a growing weakness to understand and accept the ways of Jesus.  Faith is at risk and the followers are wavering.  To the twelve, Jesus asks: “Do you also want to leave?” To this, Peter answers: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.?

Sometimes we are so weak in our faith that we prefer allowing others take the lead then do what it takes to give a different direction of our society. Joshua sees how the people are taking to the false gods of the new country they have entered.  It is not unlike the gods of secularism and socialism that we are now taking unto ourselves.

Paul tells us that we should anticipate the needs of each other and submit to these needs.  It is not a  matter of obedience with one hoarding power over the other.  It is not a matter of woman being subjugated to man.  It is a matter of mutual respect, accepting the essential needs of faith, life and love. Paul affirms the fact that God made them male and female so that the two may leave father and mother and become a new family.  Authentic marriage, true faith, freedom founded on what is right and good for mankind, this is what we need to bring back into our society. But we would rather choose what kind of marriage we will have with society, failing to subject ourselves to each other in love for the good of all. We are self-seekers and nay sayers to human righteousness.

We are weakening in our faith and therefor in the objectives of our life’s destiny.  We are no longer runners seeking the one destiny of mankind. We are now political rivals wanting to affirm the immoral and amoral aspirations of liberated spirits. 

WHOM WILL WE SERVE?

With Joshua it is time for us to make a choice and with him to affirm: “as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

To serve God and to enter into Communion with Jesus means changing our way of life and living by the Spirit of Jesus.  Often we come to receive the Lord in Eucharist with deep ferver and faith in his presence in the Eucharist.  But we then lock him up in tabernacles and resume our human way of life without letting our lives be changed by the one we receive in communion. Once we leave Mass we go back to seeking our own private pleasures. In this way, we turn away from the common goal of the athletes and put one the political hats of self-satisfying priorities to be imposed on the mass of society. 

Fr. Barron speaks in his blogsite: Words of Fire.  He mentions how the Church seeks true justice in the happy combination of subsidiary needs and solidarity in answering these needs of mankind.  Through subsidiarity we try to identify the poverty of mankind and bring some answer to our local needs.  But we must not become selfish in checking out these needs.  There must be discipline in how we unify the efforts of all, each making the sacrifices necessary for the good of all.  When we allow ourselves to be disciplined by proper principals of life, we enter a solidarity that can help heal the hungers of mankind.

The selfishness of subsidiarity by itself or the solidarity of governmental power alone does not satisfy the need of human freedom and independence.  Subsidiarity alone seeks total independence (free to do what I want).  Solidarity alone seeks total dependency (power to rule the mass).  But a recognition of the needs of society based on a morally disciplined goal and vision will strenthen our nation and renew the destiny foreseen by our forefathers. Religious liberty is essential to righteous living in any country.

We cannot build a government that destroys and rejects God as the center of universal hungers. Christ gives himself in Eucharist to remind us that we are in need of being fed by the one source of all true freedom.  We must be free to serve in the strength of our faith.

It is imperative then that as we begin our climb to national presidential elections and most especially our climb to a renewal of faith called for by Pope Benedict in this coming season, that we match the two demands in  our thoughts and feed the hungers of a weakening society with a renewal of our commitment to serve God first before all other things.  Then we will be able to choose wisely and confidently make decisions that will renew the destiny of our people and the purpose of our faith.

Only the memory of God’s words can bring spirit and life.  Either we are spiritual athletes heading for a common goal of unity and faith or we become a pawn to the muses of men and self-destruct into puppet-like socialism that controls our very lives, making us robots empty of spirit and soul.  

So read carefully, listen well, observe what is being offered and said.  Pray and beg God to intervene.  May it be that with Joshua in the face of all modern idols we might be able to say: “as for me and my people, we will serve the Lord.”  By strengthening religious freedom we bring all things back into balance that allows us to race for the final reward. If you have never taken your vote seriously, now is the time to begin. Be careful, be faithful, be wise.

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