Scripture: 1st Reading: 1Tim3,14-16; Resp. Psalm: Ps111,1-6; Gosp. Accl.: Jn6,63,68; Gospel: Lk7,31-35
There is always a deep sense of sorrow and loss when love is rejected. There is a deep sense of void when all attempts to extend goodness is rebuffed and rejected by the other. There is sadness when the direction provided is not followed but abandoned. There is a deep sense of failure when one tries with all one's wisdom to convince someone to abandon darkness and come into light but the person refuses and prefers to continue in darkness. These may be some of the sentiments that filled the heart of our Lord as He pronounced true words we read in today's gospel passage.
In today's Gospel, we can sense the sense of loss in the tone of our Lord's voice. We can hear our Lord totally at a loss about what else He needed to do that He had not done to make them understand who He was and why He came to them. Our Lord today lamented over this generation of complaining, disgruntled and dissatisfied persons, that carried its dissatisfaction to the extreme point of rejecting the prophet that was sent to them to prepare the way of the Lord and that also rejected the Saviour when eventually He came.
They compared Him to John the Baptist who led a very ascetic life of physical privations. Our Lord today said that John ate no bread and drank no wine. Bread was the most common staple for everyone, the most basic food item for rich and poor, high and low. Even this was abstained from by John who fed on locusts and wild honey. Yet, for all his asceticism, John was accused of demonic possession.
On the other hand, our Lord ate, drank. He came and was at home with humanity in everything except sin. Yet even that did not convince those who found it difficult to see beyond His humanity. They accused Him of being a glutton and drunkard, the friend of tax collectors and sinners. His identification with sinners so that He could bring them back to God was used against Him.
Our Lord teaches us from His own life and experience that it is foolhardy to presume to please everybody. It is an exercise in futility. What is fundamentally important is to please God in everything, after all, He is the One to whom we will render an account of our lives at the end. What is needful for our lives is to understand and enter into the mystery of our religion, as the word teaches us today: the reality of the manifestation of our Lord in the flesh, His vindication in the Spirit, the fact that He was "seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory."
The 103 Martyrs of Korea whose memorial we celebrate today, Sts. Andrew Kim Tae-gon, Paul Chong Ha-sang and companions, people of different ages and callings in life, who gave their lives during the 19th Century persecution in Korea, give us good examples of what satisfaction with Christ is all about. They were strongly attached to our Lord in life and death. They used their entire lives to labour for the work of God. May we profit from their intercession.
Let us pray: "O God, who have been pleased to increase your adopted children in all the world, and who made the blood of the Martyrs Saint Andrew Kim Tae-gon and his companions a most fruitful seed of Christians, grant that we may be defended by their help and profit always from their example." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always. Rev. Fr. Anthony Igbekele