Martedi, Febbraio 28, 2017
(Ecclesiasticus 35:2-15; Mark 10.28-31)
We normally hear people saying “forewarned forearmed.” In simple terms when one get a warning either by witnessing one in front of him falling into a ditch, he get armed with knowledge on where to carry his strides.
The disciples of Jesus after hearing about the danger of wealth how it can cause a rich man, probably owner of a camel, can be thrown out of a banquet where his camel took him while the camel get on the high table. They began stocktaking. Though they are no near the name rich leave alone thieves of taxes and fish, but what is riches anyway?
Richness doesn’t imply only materials and financial wealth. A poor man can be very rich in egoism. You wonder why some immigrants who claim to be poor are becoming naughty even to the host.
Like the disciples who abandoned their livelihoods and joined workless class of Jesus, blessed are they for they will be rewarded.
Unfortunately this has not been realised among many Christians who live their daily lives in the rat race for acquisition characteristic of our modern capitalist societies and who believe that what they cannot get by their own efforts they will never come to enjoy.
Yet there are examples. One of the most obvious is religious life where the words of Jesus are lived out. The question is why should only religious have this experience of shared love and shared material goods? There are other communities like L’Arche, founded by Jean Vanier – a saint of our time, where the fit and the handicapped share a life together. There are basic Christian communities or some charismatic groups where families live in a communal style sharing all their resources.
But, by and large, we have to a great extent failed to realise that Christianity is not meant to be a religion where individuals, rich and poor, live individualistic lives and carry out certain ‘religious’ acts to “save their own souls” but that it essentially consists of creating a whole new way by which people relate to each other in mutual love and care.
Jesus says that in his world the first will be last and the last first. In fact, he is saying that in his world there is no first and no last. Perhaps this can be illustrated by a story:
A rich man was concerned about his future salvation, would he ‘go to heaven’ or not. In order to motivate him, he asked God to be given a preview of heaven and hell. God agreed. God said that they would first pay a visit to hell. When they got there the man was greatly surprised. He was brought into a sumptuous dining room of a large Chinese restaurant all decorated in red and gold. In the centre was a large round table and on it were the most exotic and delicious dishes one could imagine. Around the table were seated the diners. They were the most miserable-looking group one could imagine, all sitting there motionless and in silence just looking at the beautiful food in front of them. The reason for their glumness was that they had been given chopsticks which were three feet long! There was no way they could get any of the food into their mouths. And they were going to sit there like that for eternity. That was hell!
God then brought the man to heaven. Again he was amazed. Because they were in an identical Chinese banqueting room, with the same kind of table and the same wonderful food. But everybody was in the highest spirits. The sound of laughter rang out everywhere. They were really enjoying themselves and the meal. Was this because they had the normal length of chopsticks? No! They also had three-foot chopsticks but here everyone was reaching out food to people on the opposite side of the table. And that was heaven.
It is a very good illustration of today’s Gospel. When everyone serves, everyone is served. When everyone gives, everyone gets. It is a lesson even we Christians seem to find difficult to learn.
Let ask our mother Mary to help us recognise the importance of being the handmaid of the Lord and God’s will will be done on us and through us.
St. Theresa of Lisieux, pray for us.