Sunday, September 07, 2014
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Ezekiel 33:7-9
2nd Reading: Romans 13:8-10
Gospel: Matthew 18:15-20
Jesus said to his disciples, “If your brother or sister has sinned against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are in private, and if he listens to you, you have won your brother. If you are not listened to, take with you one or two others so that the case may be decided by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he still refuses to listen to them, tell it to the assembled Church. But if he does not listen to the Church, then regard such a one as a pagan or a publican.
“I say to you: whatever you bind on earth, heaven will keep bound; and whatever you unbind on earth, heaven will keep unbound.
“In like manner, I say to you: if on earth two of you are united in asking for anything, it will be granted to you by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered in my Name, I am there among them.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
Today’s Gospel ends with an important message about unity: “If two of you are united in asking God for anything, it shall be granted unto you”. I recall how in 2005 Cebu Province was on the verge of being divided into three provinces. That was when the Cebu Provincial Board passed a resolution in May 2005 approving the proposal of division by a vote of 8-7, with 8 in favor of the division. That lady Governor who fought to keep Cebu intact has surely carved her rightful place of honor in the annals of Cebuano history. To her credit Cebu still stands as one province today.
What if God were also to be divided into three? Three Gods would be an oxymoron because “God” means the most powerful and therefore he is necessarily one and undivided. We cannot have three most powerful beings. That would mean that one is not really the most powerful because there are two others with equal omnipotence.
An anecdote is told of a teenager who bought three Valentine’s cards captioned “To the sweetest girl I have ever met!” The fact that he bought three means he had in mind three sweetest girls in his life. But language is yet to reinvent itself to allow more than one entity to sit in that one place of honor reserved for the superlative. Even then, the heart will grope in the dark. How can the heart give all of itself to three beloveds? The confusion is succinctly expressed by the song “Sana dalawa ang puso ko” (Would that my heart were two). We have only one heart, and God would like to be loved with all our heart and with all our soul. If God were to divide himself into three we will never be able to love fully any of the three. We’d end up loving neither of the three.
The Trinity will always be one, and God would like us to be absorbed into that unity. That is why the Father also dreams of unity for all of us. We can help the Father achieve this dream by praying together. The Father knows already what we want long before we express them in prayerful words. But we must pray because it is in prayer that God finds his people united. We are one, and we celebrate this oneness in prayer as one community of the one God. – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.frdan.org.
Prayer for the day: God our Father, as we thank you for the gift of salvation we ask you for the gift of charity so that we may always be united as one family in prayer, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
SAINT OF THE DAY: St. Regina, Virgin and Martyr. She was born in Alise, the Ancient Alesia in the 3rd Century. Her birth marked the death of her mother. Her father, a prominent pagan citizen, gave her to a Christian nurse who took care and baptized her when she was a child. The father disowned his own daughter when he learned that she was admitted into Christianity. From then on, she lived with her nurse and she was in constant communion with God. At the age of fifteen, Olybrius, a prefect of Gaul, wanted to marry her. Regina refused to deny her Faith and rejected his proposal of marriage. Consequently she was imprisoned. While in prison, she was resolute in her decision not to give up her virginity and Faith. Olybrius was furious and ordered her to be punished severely, which led to her death.