Christ First

Matthew 10: 34—11:1
Ex 1: 8-14,22 / Psa 124

. . . whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple — truly I tell you, he will surely not lose his reward.
(Matthew 10:42)

Put no hope on what this world may bring,
Life isn’t always what it may seem.
Put Jesus first above everything
If we want to be a part of Him.

Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. ‘Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous man because he is righteous will receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple — truly I tell you, he will surely not lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:34-42)

Reflection

How strange to read the Prince of Peace say He did not come to bring peace, but a sword. But what our Lord was saying was that He had come to wage war against the forces of the prince of lies, Satan. At the same time He was warning His disciples to brace themselves for the coming persecution that they would be encountering in their missions. This was the very topic of my talk last Saturday in the orientation of discussion group leaders before the start of a Christian life Program in one community. This is what we call “spiritual warfare,” the battle for the hearts, minds and souls of others who have not yet been called.

However, the war against evil forces extends even among family members – over values and doctrinal differences. And even Christ’s own family – the Church—would not be spared from the inevitable schisms. But our Lord pointed out that no loyalties or commitments on earth can be more important than our relationship with Him, even if it means breaking away from our loved ones (as priests do in pursuit of their vocation), or taking up our crosses (trials) to follow Him by standing up for the Gospel principles (Be Honest, even if others are not!) This is the challenge that our President has been advocating for his subordinates to follow. Love of country through honest governance will surely be opposed by self-interest groups and corrupt politicians long entrenched in the traditional ways of doing business. But as Pres. Aquino reminded his countrymen, we are his bosses, and it is up to us to effect the change, if we are committed to eliminate graft and corruption in our country.

A Jesuit priest once said in his homily, “Life is all about living out our mission from God, nothing more, and nothing less.” This implies being a man for others, the common thread that binds us all in our ministry– making God’s love and righteousness evident in all our undertakings. When our goal in life is simply to become the richest or the most successful in our business or profession, then we have missed the real purpose of our existence. It is the blessed among us who are grateful for the values and principles that our saints and modern prophets have successfully ingrained in our formative years. It is to their credit that we have learned to give more than “a cup of cold water” to the less privileged, having been blessed by the love taught by our Lord Jesus Christ.

May we always live Jesus’ message of love and justice in our lives so that we can help build a better future for our country and our children. May His gospel ideals be our constant guide, so that all our words and actions magnify You, Almighty God. Amen.

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