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God’s peace doesn’t tolerate evil

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WORD ALIVE

By FR. BEL R. SAN LUIS, SVD

Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

The gospel message of this 20th Sunday is puzzling. In one part of the Scriptures, Jesus Christ promises peace: “I leave you peace, my peace I give to you.”

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But in Luke 12,51 of this Sunday gospel, he says, “I have come to bring not peace but division.” Is that not a contradiction?

It sounds like it but it is not. The core of Jesus’ teachings  has always been love, unity, and peace.

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What the Lord means is that God’s peace should not  be the kind that accepts compromises with evil or tolerates injustices and wrongdoings. And a Christian must exemplify this peace even at the cost of antagonizing and parting ways with relatives or friends.

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“A family will be divided: fathers against their sons, mothers against  daughters…” (Lk 12,52).

This message is vividly illustrated in the story of Thomas More (1477-1535) whose life was immortalized in Robert Bolt’s multi-awarded movie, “A Man for All Seasons.”

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A devout Catholic layman and brilliant lawyer, Thomas was appointed High Chancellor of England by King Henry VIII. At a crucial point, Thomas was made to choose between friendship and loyalty to the king or his faith and conscience.

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He chose the latter when he opposed King Henry’s illegitimate union with Anne Boleyn and refused to recognize him as supreme head of the Church in England.

In 1535, after resisting even the entreaties of his own family, which he considered contrary to the will of God, he was decapitated at the Tower of London with these parting words: “I die the king’s good servant, but God’s first.” 

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There will be situations, perhaps not as dramatic as that of Thomas More, when we, too, have to witness to our Christian principles and convictions, when we have to stand up against evil in society even if we have to go against a political leader, an employer, or a relative.

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It’s heartening to know that today countrymen, known as “whistle-blowers,” have the courage to come out and testify to crimes, thus, helping solve them.

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A gutsy lady accountant of a big company, for instance, courageously reported to the department head about anomalies of some high-ranking officials who, after due investigation, were  found guilty and eventually dismissed from service.

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We commend certain concerned groups like the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) for their fight against anomalies and violence in society.

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There are certain crusading organizations, too, like the National Movement Against Pornography (NMAP), who unflinchingly fight against pornographic literatures, X-rated videos and movies. (Lately, however, we have not heard of their noble crusade).

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It’s not easy to expose and oppose wrongdoings because the offender can silence the whistle-blower or a witness by violence or death threats and, if that doesn’t work, through under-the-table inducements.

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We pray that the Lord grant us COURAGE to emulate the prophet Jeremiah who, in this Sunday’s first reading, stood up against King Zedekiah’s many transgressions or St. Thomas More, who in exemplifying the Christian values of moral integrity and unswerving faith, paid with untold sufferings and eventual execution.

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In the words of the British statesman Edmund Burke: “The only way by which evil men prosper in society is for the good to do nothing.”

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LAFF WITH GOD. Once a priest was delivering a homily in a crowded chapel. “Honor your father and your mother”…Thou shalt not kill!” “Thou shalt not commit adultery”! he boomed.  A fired-up politician in the front row exclaimed in agreement, “Amen, Father, amen.”

The priest went on, “Thou shalt not steal!” “Ops, ops, Father,” the politician said. “You’re no longer preaching. You are now meddling in my life.” (The politico was involved in a pork barrel scam).

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SHARE YOUR BLESSINGS WITH THE POOR AND GOD WILL BLESS YOU MORE. Please help needy seminarians we’re supporting under “Adopt A Seminarian” scholarship program; also sick indigents like Dante C. suffering from renal failure and five-year-old leukemia  patient Alison Genesis L.

Donate an amount For inquiry, e-mail me at: belsvd@gmail.com.

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