We have been reflecting on the theme 'our faith confession and our life in faith'. We began from the faith confession of Peter (21st Sunday). The faith confession in itself does not make us better persons. It makes us better persons only when we live according to the will of our God whom we confessed. Many profess their faith but in practical life, they tend to follow their own thoughts and live out their faith in a way they want. So when Jesus reveals about his passion and death Peter rebukes Jesus (22nd Sunday). Jesus rebukes Peter and tells him that he sets his mind not on divine things but on human things. We reflected this situation as a major spiritual conflict as we live out our faith in day-to-day life. There is a spiritual conflict arising from our thoughts v/s God's thoughts. The spiritual life is an ongoing struggle to align ourselves more and more to the will of God. In the process, there is an abandoning of one's thoughts, which is narrow, nearsighted and blind.
We profess our faith in a community. So the following Sunday, we meditated upon the community nature of our life in faith (23rd Sunday). If our faith does not help us to live together then there is something wrong. If we do not have the capacity to forgive, join hands with two or three in prayer, then, we need to reflect again on the question of our Lord, ' who do you say that I am'.
Last Sunday (25th), we meditated upon the parable of the labourers in the Vineyard. Our narrow mindedness creates obstacles in experiencing God's generosity. When our happiness rest on the misery of others we are not living out our faith. Does the generosity of our God make us jealous? God gives without reservation, without boundaries, without discrimination. He forgives even the sinners and tax collectors. Do feel uneasy to understand such generosity?
Today: 26th Sunday
Faith confession is not an isolated one-time declaration but it is a dynamic process through which we are made anew. Since it is a process of growth, there is room for correction. We need to correct our ways, attitude and actions. One of the major obstacles in the way of living out our faith is our unwillingness to correct. Faith in God is to bring qualitative transformation in our lives. Qualitative transformation includes correction. Today's parable the Lord reminds us that he appreciates when we correct our ways to do the will of the father. We need not be ashamed of correcting our ways. Spiritual growth always includes the truth that God accepts correction. The word used in the bible is change of heart (Metanoia). Which means to turn way from sin and turn to God? A person who cannot correct his/her mistakes is not spiritual. He/she cannot live out true faith in Christ Jesus. The "today" that he has given us is to correct old ways that leads to death.
When the sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes correct their ways and return to do the will of God the angels rejoice in heaven. The Lord appreciates their humility to correct their ways and return to him.
One of the elements of the work of the Word of God is correction. "All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work" (2 Tim 3:16-17). Not hardening the heart when we hear the word of god is a sign that our relationship with God is still warm and tender. The first son who refused to go, later changes his mind and does according to the will of his father. Jesus appreciates such action. "Today", if you hear his voice do not harden your hearts" (Ps 95:7).
Many experience great fear when it comes to correct one's own ways. This fear keeps the soul in bondage of self-justification consequently deprives him/her a chance to repent and return.
God has given us 'today' to correct our mistakes, wrong decisions and do what is good. Are you afraid of correction, repentance? Then you need to answer the question again in your silence, "who do you say that I am''? There is nothing to lose but there is a whole lot of abundance of life out there to gain in Christ. Come left us be persons who hear the word and do it.