• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Friday, 21 February 2020 18:40

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A - 2020

Written by Fr Larry Nemer SVD

 

Sunday Reflection

7th Sunday 2020

 

Fr Larry Nemer SVD 150Many years ago I read a Life of Jesus by the Scripture scholar Dominic Crossan.  There were many different lives of Jesus coming out at the time as the scholars tried to identify the “historical Jesus”.  The “Jesus of faith” as described in the Gospels was their basis, but they knew that the Gospels told the story of Jesus through the eyes of faith and they were trying to identify the “historical Jesus” as His contemporaries would have known him.  The book made a deep impression on me, and although it is almost 30 years since I read his book I can still remember the point he was making in his final chapter.  He said that 90 per cent of what Jesus taught (as recorded in the Gospels) other Rabbis taught as well.  However he then went on to say that the three teachings that were unique to Jesus were three things that His followers have struggled with all through history: open table fellowship – everyone is welcome “at the Table” – no one is excluded; love your enemies and reject all violence; and the greatest among you must be the servant of all.  No other rabbi taught this.

In today’s Gospel we have Jesus’ uncompromising statement that we are not to respond to violence with violence but that we are to love our enemies – to be perfect as God is perfect who loves everyone, good and bad.  For the first 200 years the Christians followed this teaching and refused to join the military service.  It was said of them: “See how they love one another.”  But by the 300’s the Roman army needed recruits and forced Christians to join, excusing them from having to make the sacrifices to the Roman gods before battle.  But not all would carry out their orders to kill the enemy.  The man we know as St Martin of Tours was made to become a soldier when he was 15.  But when he became a catechumen he refused to bear arms against the enemy and so he was dismissed from the army.  For this reason he is the patron saint of Pax Christi.  But by the end of the 300s, when the empire was mostly Christian, there were whole battalions of Christian soldiers.  They were looked on as “elite group” because it was said they “killed out of love, and not out of hatred”!

In the Middle Ages when there was almost constant warfare between the feudal lords in Europe the Church tried to “tame” the violence.  The Church introduced the Truce of God – that no fighting was to be done on a Sunday or Holy Day of obligation, and the Peace of God – that no fighting was to be done during the seasons of Advent and Lent.  But these attempts were not very successful.  In fact by the end of the 11th century, the Popes, bishops, and even some saints were preaching the Crusades.

In modern times Popes have tried to bring an end to  violence and bring about peace but without much success.  Popes Benedict XV and Pius XI tried to stop  Christians from killing one another in the two World Wars but they were not successful.  Pope Francis has spent much of his time trying to bring peace between warring factions around the world.  In some cases he has been successful, but in other cases not so.  The world continues to breed violence and hatred.  Jesus’ command to love our enemies is a hard one to follow.

On a personal level as well it is hard to love our “enemies” – not to respond to their violence in a violent way.  But there are many Christians who are faithful to God’s command.  When I was giving retreats in Papua New Guinea one Brother told me his story of experiencing violence.  He was closing up the Mission Store when a group of young thieves (they call them “rascals” in PNG) broke in, beat him senseless and left him for dead while they took what they wanted from the store.  As a result of the beating he lost sight in one eye and hearing in one ear.  I asked him: “Brother did you ever think of asking to go back to Holland?”  “Oh no.” he said; “these are good people.  They are just going through a bad time.”  I thought: this is what Jesus has asked us to do – to be perfect like God is perfect, loving the just and the unjust alike.