Sunday 6 July 2014

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

Some people think that their race or ethnic group are superior or special. They think that others must give in or "kow tow" to their every whims and fancies. Even among people of the same race or ethnic group, we see segregation and discrimination. People treat others unfairly and with contempt, especially those whom they think are less capable or do not think or act like they do. Even in our churches, are we behaving lovingly and caringly like brothers and sisters in Christ, like sons and daughters of God? Sometimes we see people forming cliques or focusing only with people they are comfortable with, people who perhaps share the same age group, language, culture, interests, or ideas. Is this what we should be as children of God?

In the first reading, Isaiah reminds us: "Thus says the Lord: Have a care for justice, act with integrity, for soon my salvation will come and my integrity be manifest. Foreigners who have attached themselves to the Lord to serve him and to love his name and be his servants – all who observe the sabbath, not profaning it, and cling to my covenant – these I will bring to my holy mountain." Notice that here, all peoples who listen to God's will are part of God's fold. It does not matter who you are, whether you are a Jew or a Gentile, God treats you as His own, if you obey His commandments. St Paul in today's second reading also reminds us that He was sent to pagans as their apostle, and that "God never takes back his gifts or revokes his choice." Our ancestors were once pagans and were saved through the grace of God. This shows that God’s salvation is given to all people without discrimination. God’s grace is not reserved for any particular race.

As Christians, we cannot have an attitude of isolation or think that we are better or superior to others. God reminds us to “have a care for justice and act with integrity” to all. It matters not who we are, what ethnic group we come from, what religion we profess, God loves all. We should not condemn others or belittle them just because they look, behave, act or think differently than us. We should always show respect to them and put aside our prejudices. We must allow our faith to transform our culture, attitudes and our history. In this way, we can become effective witnesses to all. Are we willing to take up the challenge and love and witness to all, as brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of our loving God?

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