26TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – B
Christianity is radical otherwise it is not Christianity at all! The height of its radicalism is the person of Jesus Christ!
To do good is not exclusive to Christians nor holiness is exclusive to Christianity! Heaven is for everyone who loves the way God loves; saints are not the sole properties of the Catholic Church. Although we believe that ours is the true Church but we also acknowledge the “Seed of the Word”, that is the presence of God in other religions hence our respect to their own ways of life.
A little act of kindness done to the least of our fellowmen will be forever written in the heart of God and will not go unrewarded. On the other hand, any act of injustice done against the poorest of the poor will not go unpunished. God has a face: it is the face of the person next to us regardless of color, race or religion.
The second part of the gospel this Sunday sounds explosive: “If your hand, foot or eye is causing you to sin cut it off or pluck it out!” Certainly Jesus was not teaching his disciples about self-mutilation hence should not be taken literally. This height of radicalism reminds us of our true goal in life which is heaven. There is nothing that should stand in the way in realizing that goal, no matter how precious it is, be it as precious as our hand, foot or eye. A person who has a gangrenous foot will have to sacrifice that foot in order to save his whole body. Failure in cutting it off will result in obstructed blood circulation and bacterial infection which eventually lead to death. It is the same in our spiritual life when we have something gangrenous that obstructs us from living our Christian life to the fullest: be it a relationship, a place, a possession. It might be someone or something that is very precious that is causing us to sin. A starfish is ready to let go of an arm by breaking it off just to be free from a predator because it knows that it can later grow an entirely new arm. From this autonomy comes regeneration. Just like the starfish, our life is compensated if we are able to break off from the grip of our sin through painful sacrifice. Resurrection is our own way of total regeneration.
Christianity is a radical religion! There is no room for the mediocre most especially if one takes seriously his end-goal in life. We will do everything and give up anything to realize that goal. At the end of our life’s journey, we will realize that the many things we have given up are nothing compared to the reward that awaits for us. If all the things we have given up become gold in heaven, perhaps we may even say “How I wish I could have given up more….”