26th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Dear Brothers and Sisters, the theme for today’s readings might be summed up in the words: Open-minded respect and love for all. There seems to be an inborn instinct due to our fallen nature to mistrust and disqualify people who are different
from us. The more isolated life is, be it geographically in rural areas or socially by self-imposed isolation, the more narrow-minded and biased people become. This very thing happened to our Lord, who came to his own “yet his own did not accept him”. Jesus , being a Jew, today might even be refused membership in many an elite club. Over the centuries, Christian denominations have isolated themselves socially. (I am not referring to contemplative communities!) Small wonder then that they mistrusted one another. The ecumenical movement, fortunately, to some extent has eliminated some of the“ghetto mentality” that has been with the Churches for a long time. Since bias (whether social, racial, or religious) is so subtle, there is real need to question ourselves in this area.
Granted, in recent years society has become more open. But this openness
is very challenging for the Christian. Many issues that formerly were considered
scandalous are now understood as OK or normal!. Politics has long been referred to as the “art of compromise”. Compromise is certainly not the Christian way!
Scandal can be provoked by fashion, or opinion, or laws and institutions. That
is the teaching of our Church. Further defined – Therefore they are guilty of scan-
dal who establish laws or social structures leading to the decline of morals and the corruption of religious practice, or to social conditions that intentionally, or not,
make Christian conduct and obedience to the Commandments difficult and prac-
tically impossible. This is true also for business leaders who make rules encouraging fraud, for manipulators of public opinion who turn it away from
The Gospel reminds us, very forcefully today, that there is to be no compromise with what is evil. What is morally evil, though legal, or ‘acceptable’ does not make it good! This Christian attitude is ‘scandalous’ for the worldly minded.
One last word on scandal: There is and remains – the Scandal of the Cross! The Spirit of Jesus was gained for us through his unconditional surrender to that Cross. It is through that Spirit, far more powerful than the spirit mentioned in our first reading, that we are to uncompromisingly live, so all who are unlike us, all receive through us- the respect, the healing, the forgiveness and love that our God and theirs desires for them – through us. AMEN! Fr Alan, ocso
Nm 11: 25-29, Jas 5:1-6, Mk 9: 38-43, 47-48