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Transformed Christians are persistently striving for social peace, which can be achieved through a just and equitable distribution of the material goods of God’s creation

Reflection for the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Cycle C)

One’s transformation from self-centeredness to selflessness is possible only because our Lord is the creator of all, and thus possesses all, for he is in all. It is clearly upon this immanent transcendence in the entire cosmos, that our Lord loves and is compassionate towards the spirits of all creatures, that no soul will be lost, that all will be given a chance to last.

“But because you are almighty, you are merciful to all; you overlook sins and give your children time to repent. You love everything that exists and hate nothing that you have made; had you hated anything, you would not have formed it.”

“How could anything endure if you did not will it? And how could anything last that you had not willed? You have compassion on all because all is yours, O Lord, lover of life.”

“In fact, your immortal spirit is in all. And so by degrees you correct those who sin, you admonish them, reminding them how they have strayed so that, turning away from evil they may trust in you, Lord.”

Transformation is the process, or the goal of the process, characterized by the change in the human person, resulting in the enactment of a mutual love between the person and God, manifested in acts leading to personal sanctification as well as in acts intended in consideration or at the service of the needs of others. Hence, a transformed person is one who has committed to a life of holiness, and has dedicated it selflessly and unconditionally to contemplation and social action.

Transformed Christians have above all, cultivated the desire to be with our loving Father, consistently nurturing the life of being in love with him. Consequently, they are intent on detaching themselves from everything that may deter them from loving him first, placing the greatest importance on being united with him who is forever. They persevere in prayer; they do penance by righting the wrongs committed at the expense of others; and they try their best to comfort the afflicted, helping the disadvantaged and the abandoned in secret, for what they think and do must be a matter between themselves and God alone, a life of service dedicated only to pleasing him, not the opinions of society.

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Transformed Christians are also moved to teach others about the love of God, calling them to love him in return. The work of evangelization is never without its difficulties, disappointments, failures, and persecutions, for many have already been made used to loving the world and its allurements, that to love God and self-sacrifice are certainly not agreeable to some people. But to evangelize is to plant only the seed, not to reap the harvest as well; our loving Father leads each one of us to himself, in his own time. They may instruct, counsel, or admonish in secret those who do not know and understand God, those who do not love him, those who do not need him, those who persist in living without him, those who disobey him by offending him and others, and those who openly rebel against him.

Transformed Christians are also impelled to pray in intercession for those who cannot or can no longer pray for themselves: the physically incapacitated, the mentally ill, the emotionally disturbed, the doubting, the desperate, and the unloved; the hard-hearted, the indifferent, the selfish and the greedy; the proud and the defiant. Their complete trust in their supplications to God guarantees that he will also give them what they need.

And, transformed Christians are persistently striving for social peace, which can be achieved through a just and equitable distribution of the material goods of God’s creation. Each person is entitled, through his or her labors, to a sufficient amount of nature’s abundance of resources and opportunities provided by him, in order to assure his or her proper development as a useful member of the Church and society. They are therefore particularly dedicated to ensuring that those who have more should give from their excess to those who have less, so that no one is lacking the means for self-subsistence; giving for and helping achieve the kingdom in which God wishes for no one to be desperately mired in dire straits.

The pledge of Zacchaeus concisely mirrors the fruit of the process of transformation: “Half of what I own, Lord, I will give to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone, I will pay him back four times as much.” With such a promise, our Lord will be more than pleased to joyfully bless our homes, families and communities with his holy presence.

May the prayer of the Apostle be our everlasting prayer, “May our God make us worthy of his calling. May he, by his power, fulfill our good purposes, and our work, prompted by faith. May the name of Jesus, our Lord, be glorified through us, and us, through him.”

Brother Jess Matias is a professed brother of the Secular Franciscan Order. He serves as minister of the St. Pio of Pietrelcina Fraternity at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Mandaluyong City, coordinator of the Padre Pio Prayer Groups of the Capuchins in the Philippines and prison counselor and catechist for the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.

The views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial stance of LiCAS.news.

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