The 29th Thursday in Ordinary Time
(Romans 8:19-23, Luke 12: 49-53)
“You have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God” (Rom. 6:22). The price of our freedom was the passion and death of Jesus Christ. God’s Beloved Son identified himself with us so that we might be identified with him. When the Father looks upon the Son, He sees us. Like the Son, we conform our wills to the Father’s. Saint John wrote: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord. He only does what he sees his Father doing; for whatever the Father does these things the Son does in the same way” (Jn.5:19). Having been grafted to Christ, we are to reflect the glory of the Father shining on the face of the Son to the world. As the Word became flesh and lived among us, we are to incarnate the gospel of salvation for all we meet.
When God’s grace freed us to become His slaves, we took upon our shoulders the yolk of Christ. Having taken up our cross, we began a journey that will take us wherever he leads us. Herein lies the catch. How are we to discern what the Lord is asking of us? The apostle John wrote: “Test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1Jn. 4:1). Throughout October, we have been hearing about the synod in Rome. The universal church has been praying that the participants would listen deeply and discern carefully what the Spirit is saying to the Church. The word that is heard will challenge each of us and stretch us in ways we would rather not be stretched. Recall these words taken from the Letter to the Hebrews. “The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).
Pope John XXIII shared this reflection the day he opened the Second Vatican Council. “Either men anchor themselves on [Christ] and His Church, and thus enjoy the blessings of light and joy, right order, and peace; or they live their lives apart from Him; many positively oppose Him, and deliberately exclude themselves from the Church. The result can only be confusion in their lives, bitterness in their relations with one another, and the savage threat of war.” My brothers and sisters, we need to be connected to the cornerstone who is Christ, be on fire with the Holy Spirit, and be committed to proclaiming the Truth in love. Authentic communication demands that each individual listens with the ears of the heart, ponders what has been heard, and responds with words of love. The purpose of dialogue is to unseal the fountain of truth, so that, illumined by the light of the Spirit, all people will come to understand their true nature and dignity before God.
We are called to be a community that listens to what the Spirit is saying to the Church. If we remain open to the Spirit’s guidance, we will be able to respond to the cries of our poor and marginalized brothers and sisters, in ways that are consistent with what has been handed down to us in the magisterial teaching of the Church. Let us demonstrate the evangelizing force of tenderness and compassion by greeting every person we meet as a brother or sister in Christ.