22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

08-28-2022From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. Antony Arockiadoss

Dear Family!

Last week in my homily I preached about us sharing the evangelizing ministry starting from our homes where the image of Jesus or the Crucifix holds the most reverent attention and a constant reminder that Jesus is the Head of our households. Since the Catholic Church is predominantly ministered by the “Fifty plus” community, our evangelizing ministry must take note of the recent seventeen catechesis of Pope Francis about ‘Old Age’.

The Pope writes in his introduction to first catechesis on Old Age: “Let us reflect on old age.” For some decades now, this stage of life has concerned a veritable "new people", the elderly. There have never been so many of us in human history. The risk of being discarded is even more frequent: never have so many as now, been at risk of being discarded. The elderly are often seen as 'a burden'. In the dramatic first phase of the pandemic it was they who paid the highest price. They were already the weakest and most neglected group: we did not look at them too much when they were alive, we did not even see them die. I also found this Charter on the rights of the elderly and the duties of the community, this was edited by governments, it is not edited by the Church, and it is a secular thing: it is good and it is interesting to know that the elderly have rights. It will be good to read it. (February 23, 2022)

We are blessed in our parish that most of our ministries (I have listed them out to about 50 of them so far and there could be more), are volunteered by mostly seniors. First of all, we as one parish thank the seniors for their faith and dedication to our parish community. The sacrifices they have made and continue to make in donating to all kinds of projects and capital campaigns and also their valuable time to different ministries of the parish are all commendable.

In as much as we thank and pray for them, we want to support them also by our own vocation to our church. Our vocation begins with one question but to two different persons. The question is ‘How can I help?’ This is a meditative question happens in prayer. This question is first addressed to God. As Paul was reminded by Jesus, ‘Why are you persecuting me’ (Every Christian belongs to the Body of Jesus) we ask God, ‘How can we continue to build the Kingdom of God?’

After taking time with God to discern our vocation to serve, you ask the same question to me or one of the clergy in our parish. It is my fervent will that every one of you are spiritually nourished by God through our ministries especially when we serve poor and needy that are among us.

The central theme of 22nd Sunday in the Ordinary Time revolves around ‘Humility’. Sirach highlights ‘humility’, a key virtue that puts us into God’s favor. We see Jesus, John the Baptist and Mary in the words ‘Humble yourself, the greater you are.’ Jesus preached and lived these words. Jesus asked us to follow him in the path of humility to walk humbly with God.

‘Humility’ is intimately related to ‘compassion’ as there can be no humility without compassion. This idea is greatly expressed in the readings. Our compassion makes us humble as we begin to think the poor as our own. The same compassion expressed in inviting the crippled, lame and the blind encourages us to transcend the limits of rituals. Though these unfortunate people ritually can make your house unclean, your compassion makes you a humble person in the eyes of God. The foundational quality of any ministry in church is the humility taught by Jesus himself.

Fr. Antony