The WORD in Other Words by Fr Ernesto Salvar SVD (Philippines)
Tuesday 14th Week in Ordinary Time
Gn 32:23-33, Mt 9:32-38
Our saints of the day are Augustine Zhao Rong and 119 other companions, martyred in China between 1648—1930. Dying for their faith, they are indeed heroes of faith. St. Augustine Zhao Rong was a former Chinese soldier who converted to Christianity and became a diocesan priest.
We wonder why at times people do not appreciate us and our achievements. Instead we hear negative comments or criticisms.
In today‘s gospel, Jesus himself was not appreciated by the Pharisees for healing a possessed person. They saw it for themselves that, in Jesus, the promised Messiah was fulfilled: he healed a demoniac, and… “went around to all towns and villages, teaching…proclaiming the gospel… curing every illness and disease.”
Instead of rejoicing at what Jesus did, they only had negative words for him, resorting even in slander to discredit the Lord: “He drives out demons by the prince of demons.” It is certainly, to say the least, so unfair. As followers of Jesus then, let us avoid committing slander, backbiting, backstabbing or character assassination. These are obviously sins against charity.
Moreover, today‘s gospel tells us that in Jesus we see the true heart of God. God is indeed compassionate and loving: “his heart was moved with pity for them…” Not so long ago, the Church celebrated a “Year of Mercy” to emphasize this fact of our faith. It is hoped that as we are now more aware that God is merciful, we, as believers, may also become more merciful and loving than before.
May we be, as Christ‘s witnesses, agents of love and mercy in the world today. St. Augustine Zhao Rong and companions, pray for us.