Theme: JESUS CAME TO SUFFER, TO DIE AND TO RISE FROM THE DEAD; IN ORDER TO GIVE US THE HOLY SPIRIT TO FORGIVE OUR SINS, TO GIVE US LOVE AND TO HELP US LIVE IN UNITY
- Zechariah 12:10-11; 13:1;
- Psalm 62:2-6. 8-9. R/ v. 2;
- Galatians 3:26-29
- Luke 9:18-24
Today is the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical year C. The readings today tell us that Jesus came to suffer, to die and to rise from the dead; in order to give us the Holy Spirit to forgive our sins, to give us love and to help us live in unity!
The gospel today tells us that Jesus came to suffer, to die and to rise from the dead on the third day! The Jews expected a political Messiah, a nationalistic Messiah, or even a military Messiah; but Jesus was a suffering Messiah! A political, nationalistic and military Messiah cannot sanctify and save the world; only a suffering Messiah can sanctify and save the word! Thus Jesus came to love and serve, to suffer and to sacrifice; in order to sanctify and save the world!
The gospel also tells us to take up our crosses to follow Jesus, because he who saves his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for Jesus’ sake will save it!
The first reading tells us that it is through Jesus’ death and resurrection that the Holy Spirit is poured out upon us to forgive our sins! Thus we read in the first reading:
“They will look on the one whom they have pierced; they will mourn for him as for an only son, and weep for him as people weep for a first-born child. …. When that day comes, a fountain will be opened for the House of David and the citizens of Jerusalem, for sin and impurity.” (Zc 12:10; 13:1; SM; cf. Jn 19:37; Ezk 36:25)
The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the first stanza from which the response is taken:
“O God, you are my God, for you I long; for you my soul is thirsting. My body pines for you like a dry, weary land without water.” (Ps 62:2; SM)
That is, we are thirsting for God the Holy Spirit symbolized by water! And thus the response which is taken from the first stanza:
“For you my soul is thirsting, O God, my God.” (Ps 62:2; SM)
The responsorial psalm also tells us that the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit of God’s love! Thus we read in verse 4 of the second stanza:
“For your love is better than life, my lips will speak your praise.” (Ps 62:4; SM)
It is only here that in the Old Testament that something is prized above life itself! In the Old Testament life is the most important and most valued thing, but here the love of God is prized above life itself! (CSB; NJBC) This is because the love of God can give us a new life that is even better than our present life! Thus the Holy Spirit does not only forgive our sins, but the Holy Spirit also gives us love and new life! Thus again, verse 4 of the responsorial psalm:
“For your love is better than life.” (Ps 62:4; SM)
Finally, we receive the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Baptism, and we become sons and daughters of God, and brothers and sisters to one another, and thus there are no distinctions between different races and nationalities, different classes of people, and different sexes and genders, but we are all united in the one body of Jesus Christ! Thus we read in the second reading:
“You are, all of you, sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. All baptized in Christ, you have clothed yourselves in Christ, and there are no more distinctions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, but all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Ga 3:26-28; SM)
Today we thank God for the death and resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to forgive our sins, to give us love and life, and to help us live in unity; and we ask God to help us to take up our crosses to follow Jesus so as to die and rise with him to a new life and so that in the same Holy Spirit we may forgive others, love others, and live in unity with others! A blessed Sunday to all of you! Amen!
Parish Priest of St Mary, Tawau, Sabah East Malaysia.