Let us FEAST!
03 September 2021, Friday of the 22nd Week in the Ordinary Time
Memorial of St Gregory the Great, pope
Lk 5: 33-39
Paradigm Shift. Renewal. Change. We hear these terms when election comes or when a new leader is installed. Nice platforms are presented. Promises are wrapped in catchy and funny statements. We are awestruck. Fine. But what stops us from being constantly renewed?
In the Gospel reading, Jesus was confronted by the scribes and the Pharisees who asked Him why His disciples are not fasting. In response, Jesus pointed out some symbols that refer to Him such as the Groom, the feasting and the new wine into the new wineskin. Jesus brings about newness and being renewed is worth celebrating! But again, they missed Jesus’ point. Why? By being used to their older ways of thinking, feeling and acting, they remained being arrogant and proud, stubborn and close minded. No matter how powerful the message of Jesus is but if it is not welcomed with humility and openness, paradigm shift, change and renewal are just elusive.
How can we be a people characterized as “semper reformanda”? Let us FEAST.
F. Follow the Lord. Benedict XVI said that Jesus is the living tradition of the Father handed to us by the Father. Following somebody seems to be absurd because we always want to be liked, to be followed and to be admired. But in following Jesus, we are praying, “Let your Kingdom come and let my ego go.” In following the Lord, we think, we love and act like Him.
E. Enter into His Sacred Heart. Today, being the 1st Friday of the month, we honor Jesus’ Sacred Heart. Renewal begins by entering into His heart. This is not just entering a room. To enter into Jesus’ heart is to dwell in His love. Let His love purify our desires so that we can act in accordance to His will.
A. Act on His Word. Jesus the Word of the Father. In the 1st Reading, St Paul refers to Jesus as image of God through Him all were created. This Word is living. When we receive Jesus as the living Word, we listen and obey. Obedience to Jesus is a clear manifestation that is one blessed. Blessedness is not just “having much” but “being more” with the Lord.
S. Be simple. The disciples listened and obeyed the Lord because they are simple. Sometimes our doctorates and MA’s do not help others to see the truth and live a meaningful life. A simple mind makes one’s heart a room for God to whom one listens, lives in the truth and loves what is just.
T. Be thankful. There are many reasons to be thankful for: life, family, friendship, work, creativity, creation, our talents, education, health, etc. But real gratitude never only considers what we have. We are truly thankful if, in the midst of abundance, we give, we listen and we share. Faith is a gift. But faith also challenges us to work for justice and peace.
Today, we remember St Gregory the Great. He was renewed personally. From being a Prefect of Rome, he became a Benedictine monk and was elected Pope. Because he was humble and open to Christ’s ways of renewing him, St Gregory brought about renewal in the Church in the areas of liturgy, music, arts and missions. He never fasted. He feasted. He followed the Lord. He entered into Jesus’ heart. He acted God’s Word. He was simple. He was always thankful.
How can we be a people characterized as “semper reformanda”? Let us not fast. Let us feast. Amen!
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