The WORD in other words (2023) by Fr Magdaleno Fabiosa SVD – Holy Name University, Bohol
11th Sunday in Ordinary Time – A
One of the most difficult things to accept in our Christian faith is to believe that despite the burden of our past–from where our sins stare us to our face – God could still love us and accept us with all the weight and the stench of our sinfulness. This awareness of our sinfulness makes us search for ways and means to make ourselves acceptable to God. Thus, like us, generations of Christians have invented innovative religious practices that they believed would make a person acceptable to God. However, even though how faithful and perfect we are in following these religious practices, we know, deep in our hearts, that no human practice can ever make us so clean as to become acceptable to God.
St. Paul was aware of this fact. When God made him understand that his love is not something we merit; rather, it is something given to us, for free, despite the wrong things we have done in our lives, Paul never got tired of repeating this the same message: God’s love is given to us for free. The first time he brings this message out is in the Second Reading for today (Romans 5, 6-11).
He said: It is a difficult thing for someone to die for a righteous person. It may even be that someone might dare to die for a good person. But God has shown us how much he loves us –it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us. By his sacrificial death, we are now put right with God; we were God’s enemies, but he made us friends through the death of his Son. HE HAS DIED FOR US.
What follows is taken from Meditations by Chiara Lubich, Foundress of the Focolare Movement. Each of us can repeat what the apostle Paul said: FOR ME. Yes, Jesus, if you have died for me, how can I doubt your forgiveness, mercy, and love for me? And if I truly believe with a faith that teaches me that A GOD HAS DIED FOR ME, how can I not risk everything to respond to this love?
FOR ME: this is the formula that repeals the solitude of those who are most alone and lonesome; that invites every poor person despised and looked down by the entire world; that fills every heart to the brim and makes it overflow on everyone who does not know or remember that good news. FOR ME. Yes, Jesus, all those suffering were for me. Even the shout of yours was for me. You will never allow my soul and the soul of so many poor sinners like me to be lost, but you will do everything, if for no other reason…then because you have paid so much for us; FOR ME, yes, FOR ME. Therefore, allow me, Lord, to say the same to you, especially for all the years which remain for me. They are FOR YOU!