HOMILY FOR SATURDAY OF THE FIRST WEEK OF LENT YEAR B
HOMILY THEME: THE GOAL OF CATHOLICISM
BY: Fr. Benny Tuazon
Saturday of the First Week of Lent, (Day 11 of Lent)
In today’s Gospel Jesus gives a very difficult command.He wants us to love our enemies and pray for those who maltreat us. Precisely, enemies are enemies! They offended us. They harmed us. They threatened our being and living. Yet, the Lord asks us to render them love, much more pray for them! It is definitely not being coward or just plain avoidance of conflict. It is about winning the other over. Indeed, if we treat them as enemies, we have made a decision to defeat and completely separate from the. Jesus have another thing in His mind and heart. Jesus wants everyone to belong to the fold. No one will be left behind. To win everyone, enemies included, is the goal of Catholicism.
Catholic means universal. To be a Catholic means to offer salvation to all. Thus, Jesus places a very special mission to those who need conversion. Like a lost sheep, Jesus wants us to be a shepherd who will not stop until every sheep is found and brought back to the fold. It is not about condoning sin. It is about love and concern for the sinner. With a cooperative and repentant sinner, the sin can easily be addressed or erased.
Love is the best attitude towards others. Is it possible to love even enemies? Absolutely yes. Because love is not a feeling. Love is a decision. We can decide to love a person no matter who that person is. Parents are like that. They still love their children in spite of prodigal children. Friends still are able to love each other in spite of the mistakes or unacceptable behaviours of the other. In fact, the demand to love, not to tolerate or cooperate with their sins, but to rescue them from their predicament is very much opportune and necessary. True loving is the will to wish the spiritual goodness of the other. At times, loving hurts. If in loving, in trying to make the other realize that he is going the wrong way, it will entail pains, so be it. Love will heal not only the pain but also the sin.
Jesus exemplified this when He died on the cross. He loved us so much that He died when we were still sinners. Yes, no one among us deserved Jesus’ death. Yet, He decided to obey His Father for our salvation. We must do the same. The Christian loves the way Jesus loved. He came for the sick, for sinners, for the lost. As His followers, we were baptized for the same mission. We reach out to those who had gone astray. It is our responsibility to win souls for the Kingdom, not to outcast and discriminate them. We are our brother’s keeper. Salvation is not for a few but for all. We must live administer not only to save ourselves and the lovable. We ought to see every creature, every soul as needing salvation. God created us all. God wants all to be saved.