The WORD in Other Words by Fr Jerry Songcog, SVD (Madagascar)
Tuesday Week 21 Ordinary Time, 1 Thes 2:1-8, Mt 23:23-26
At our youth hostel for male high school students, I announced that All Saints Day is a holiday during which they could decide to go home or just stay. After that, I gathered them for a conference on solidarity. We discussed the recent fire in town, which spread rapidly and destroyed several houses because people just watched without doing anything to help until the fire reached their own houses. I talked about the importance of solidarity in improving the nation, the town and their need for it.
At the end of my talk, one young man raised his hand and asked, “Father, about the vacation…” Seeing me looking at him with a wry smile, he realized that he was out of the topic. His mind was on the coming vacation and failed to give attention to a more important issue.
We can be so engrossed in many trivial things in life that we fail to see the things that matter the most. Many students study to simply pass their exams and so fail to really spend time learning their lessons. In many wedding preparations, couples are concerned with what to wear, the people to invite, or the venue of the reception, but they give minimal time to preparing themselves for the commitment that they are to make.
In the Gospel, the scribes and Pharisees were scrupulous in paying tithes as demanded by the law; yet they failed to give value to the weightier part of the law — “judgement and mercy and fidelity.” As Christians, we can be particular about attending Sunday masses and prayer meetings or giving donation to the Church. All these are important yet when we fail to see our brothers and sisters in need and give our help to them, we fail to really follow Christ.