Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 17, 2019 – Year C
Readings: Jer 17:5-8 / Ps 1 / 1 Cor 15:12, 16-20 / Lk 6:17, 20-26
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
In my first few years in the priesthood, I was assigned by my former bishop to a parish in the Philippines that has mountains, hills, and rivers throughout, and it was truly a privilege to see the beauty of God’s creation there. I asked myself, “What good have I done to deserve living in this beautiful place? This is heaven on earth.”
Until one day I had to say a Mass in the boondocks, which would require me to walk across a long hanging bridge. The chair of the parish council there, who met me at the foot of the bridge, told me to leave my motorcycle at a house nearby so that we could walk across to the church on the other side.
I was born a few steps from the Pacific Ocean. I am more of a beach boy than a mountain guy. So walking across a hanging bridge built by the locals is just not my thing. As I was looking down at the bottom of the cliffs with rocks and all, I was saying to myself, “One false step, Salvador, and you’re history.”
My guide, who noticed that I was nervous, told me, “Don’t worry, Father, just follow me. Look ahead; don’t look down.” And he added, “Nobody has ever fallen from this bridge since it was built. Besides, you’re a priest. You have faith in God.”
With those words, I said, “What are we waiting for? Let’s go!” With trust in God, and the man in front of me as my guide, I made it across the bridge, safe and sound.
In the first reading today, taken from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah, God’s words remind us that those who trust the Lord are indeed blessed. The fact that we are all here in the sanctuary of Holy Name of Mary at this very moment goes to show that we have this kind of trust. Our very presence here at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is an expression of this.
But how can we explain our trust in the Lord? Going back in our past, we can all identify moments in our lives when our Lord God was there with us. We would surely say the Lord must have done something for that miracle to happen, no matter how small it was. As the psalm puts it, “Remember the marvels the Lord has done.” Always look up; don’t look down.
Try to associate with people who help you to strengthen your faith. As the saying goes, “Misery loves company.” Unfortunately, there so many miserable people around. If you cannot sway them to our Christian way of life, it is perfectly fine to just love them from a distance. The Lord Jesus Himself did not hang around with the scribes and the Pharisees. He actually called them hypocrites.
Most of all, pray without ceasing, and always live in God’s presence. Ask Him to strengthen your thoughts and your faith. For when we pray, God listens.
Let’s remind ourselves once again what the Lord God said in the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah:
Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord. He is like a tree planted beside the waters that spreadeth out its roots to the stream: it fears not the heat when it comes; its leaves stay green; in the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit.