Sunday 18th October 2015 Gospel Meditation for 29th Sunday of the Year

Reflections for October are by Archbishop David Macaire, Archbishop of Fort-de-France, Martinique

Readings: Is 53,10-11; He 4,14-16; Mk 10, 35-45

“Suffering”, “sacrifice”, “torments”, “atonement for sins”, “trials of every kind”, “fear”, of God, “baptism of death” and “slavery” … the words of these texts are frightening and incomprehensible. In fact, the disciples who are seeking power, honour and riches have understood nothing of Jesus’ message.

The same difficulty appears today for Christians themselves who aught, at each instant of their spiritual life adjust themselves to the message of Christ while climbing the slope of temptations, but above all men and women of goodwill to whom the Gospel message is destined: this message is sometimes not immediately accessible to the human spirit!

There is however some elements in the Gospel that everyone of Good Will can understand and approve of with all his heart. In the words of Christ, in fact one part corresponds to “religion” common and universal of which many of our contemporaries are anonymous followers.

Sadly, it is a “religion” in which faith is not supported by certitudes, teachings or dogmas, but on a sentiment of belief which enlightens the soul and gives it a sense of well-being. The human spirit then feels this sweet pleasure of being raised above the realities of this world. This emotion satisfies many persons: it doesn’t matter then what one believes, the essential is that one believes. This “religion” is not preoccupied then in knowing if God truly exists and, if yes, who he is.

It is based principally on the human feeling. It is, finally, very relative and almost agnostic. This explains a certain mistrust towards the Christians who pretend to hold the Truths of faith in the following of Jesus and for whom the object of faith (that which one believes) is a Revelation mush more important than the subjective feeling of belief.

Contrary to these vast dogmatic parameters the morale of this religiosity as described before limits itself to a number of restraints of ethical principles which lead to the unanimity of these “good thoughts”: solidarity, tolerance, gentleness, sincerity … as many of these very attractive values to which each one adheres with sincerity, but in the concrete life proves to be very limited. The experience shows us in fact how the best of goodwill (individual, political, social and even religious) does not succeed in creating a better world with these principles.

They are not sufficiently demanding, they are too soft in a way to resist the hardness of human relationships marked by evil! Vague religious cannot match up to the true disciples of Jesus. They proclaim “that there is no other name by which one can be saved” and aught therefore to accept their understanding of things superseded, snowed under by the teaching of the Master. The apostles have had this paradoxical experience: pardon arises from the experience of an intolerable offense; love rejoices in its victory over the unleashing of hate, life explodes through death, riches only espouse the real poor, honours are reserved for the humble, power falls into the hands of true servants….Allow ourselves then to be surprised by the Gospel, and may God teach us that the true road of life passes by His Will, on the earth as in heaven.

Let us Pray: Lord make us free, and teach us the desire to abandon our will and our projects into the hands of Divine Providence. By Jesus, the Christ, Our Lord!

Translated from French by Sr. Catherine Therese McComie Sunday 18th October 2015-French