Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 4, 2020 – Year A
Readings: Is 5:1-7 / Ps 80 / Phil 4:6-9 / Mt 21:33-43
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
A few days ago, I had the privilege of being at the bedside of a great man, when I was called to give the Last Sacrament to Clint Shay, a member of our sister parish, Resurrection. He had turned 98 last March. I was expecting to see a man already nonresponsive, but when I got there, Clint was not only conscious and alert, but he even gave me a big smile and asked me how my mother is doing in the Philippines. He said, “I heard she is now 105 years old—only seven years older than me.”
He knew and could feel that the end of his life here on earth was near, but it didn’t stop him from saying how grateful he was for all of the blessings he received from the Lord for the past 98 years of his life. Was he anxious about his impending death? I could confidently say, not at all. His faith gave him the courage and enlightenment to see what lies beyond the door which we call death, to enter into everlasting life. When I received the text message from Deacon Barry last Wednesday that Flint passed away, I knew that he went to face our Lord in peace.
In today’s second reading, which is taken from the second letter of St. Paul to the Philippians, the apostle Paul said, “Have no anxiety at all, but…with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.” He told them that to avoid anxiety, they should think about everything that is good. He did not tell these early Christians that they should forget all their problems and difficulties. He didn’t tell them that they should no longer work hard, because they should. They should focus their attention and their thoughts on the good, the true, and the beautiful.
Ralph Waldo Emerson was quoted saying, “You become what you think about all day long.” His idea is just feedback to what the apostle Paul is saying in his letters. Is it possible not to be anxious in the present situation we are facing right now? Yes, it is. For the past few months, I have been visiting our parishioners who are not able to come to church. Clint Shay has given us a good example that yes, it can be done. We can still live a pretty normal life and always put our trust, faith, and hope in the Lord. Our Holy Mother Church has given us quite a number of examples in the lives of the saints, and even in the lives of the people we know. As we all know, being upset, troubled, or angry will not change the situation. Relying on the experts may or may not help, but trusting and putting our faith and hope in the Lord works all the time.
So let us listen again to the words of the Apostle Paul: “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God…will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely…if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”