REFLECTION ON SUNDAY READINGS.
20th Sunday in ordinary time, year B.
By Fr. Fabien kalehezo, sx
The liturgy continues to present us the discourse of Jesus about the “Bread of life” that we have meditated on two Sundays ago. Today, let us focus our attention on what the writer says to the Ephesians in the second reading, as it is worth and applicable to our daily life.
Saint Paul says: “Brothers and sisters, watch carefully how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not continue in ignorance, but try to understand what is the will of the Lord”. (Eph 5:15)
Do we happen to ask ourselves how we are living? Are we aware of the way we live our life? Do we look at ourselves at a vantage point to see what is wrong or bad within us? What does it take to improve, to amend? Are we aware of the time that is running out and running short?
Saint Paul’s words provoke all these questions. According to him, the days are evil. There are a lot of things, thoughts, situations, and teachings that mislead and distract us from the essentials of life, from our faith, our family, our duties, and from what is valuable.
Saint Paul’s invitation is very pressing and relevant nowadays. He invites us to be wise persons. However, in our age, the contrary happens: on one hand, the wise is perceived to be foolish because what he does is very uncommon due to the fact that he doesn’t follow the pattern of the society or of the community. On the other hand, the foolish is considered as the model, the example to many disciples or followers. We are therefore confused because we don’t know what to do; neither do we perceive how to react to realities, situations, choices, and exigencies of our time. As a result, we become strangers to and ignorant of the will of God. If we don’t watch carefully how we live and if we are not capable of seeking and understanding the will of God, it will be easy for us to be lost and led astray.
As citizens of our respective communities, we often wonder if it is God’s will when something unexpected and untoward happens. Questioning God’s will becomes part of the equation when we are confronted with sickness, death or some other calamities. We need to remember that God never wills misfortune. Neither does God will sickness nor death. It is God’s will for us to face constant challenges and struggles to improve our living conditions, making use of the intelligence that he has given us. God’s will is that we have life and have it abundantly (Jn 10:10).
In the letter to the Romans, saint Paul says: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, this is the only way to discover the will of God and know what is good, what it is that God wants, what is the perfect thing to do” (Rom 12:2).
One of the ways of discovering God’s will is to be vigilant in different circumstances in which we are living, rather than just following what others do (Eph. 5:15). Vigilance will also lead us to watch out how we use alcohol or things we easily get addicted to. The consequence of the uncontrolled use of those things is that we are no longer master of our senses, and in case of wine for instance, we easily fall into debauchery. It is not simply a matter of wine but also of other kinds of immorality such as: drunkenness, debauchery, fornication, adultery, avidity, corruption, murders, wickedness, slander, envy, robbery, pride, use of gadgets… and so on.
From what the author of Ephesians says around the questions of discovering the will of God, it is clear that the will of God is what is good for the human being. It is not some form of fatalistic acceptance of life when we are unable to do anything about it. The will of God requires the active participation of the person with his conscience and free will. It has not to be reasonable and within one’s power. When it leads to degeneration of life or lack of responsible action, it cannot be the will of God.
Let us also learn how to make the most of our time and how to manage it because it is short. Let us treasure the present time because time that slips our hands is lost forever as we only have one life to live. The older generation should teach the young generation how to take best advantage of the present time and to use it wisely. Wasted time is a bankrupt occasion: “never put off till tomorrow what you can do today”, our ancestors used to say. The present time is the time of giving the best performances of our lives, of loving one another, of singing and praying to the Lord in our hearts, of giving thanks to and blessing the Lord at all times, of doing everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In seeking the will of God in every situation and managing wisely or responsibly our time, we become wiser and are able to sit at the table that the Wisdom has prepared: the table where we eat the bread of life and drink the wine of eternal joy. In this way we will taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Fr. Fabien kalehezo, sx