Sunday Mass and Start of the Year of Faith, 14 october 2012

A thought:

11 October it was fifty years that the Second Vatican Council began. It was the effort of the Church of the twentieth century to consider its past, its present situation and project itself into the future. Exactly because of these three tasks Pope John XXIII called it a pastoral Council. It was however one of the first times in the history of Christianity that the Church reflected in this depth about its own mystery. In this spirit the Church entered 11 October the Year of Faith.

Today readings are most appropriated for a reflection on faith. We find in the Isaiah woe and, let us say, hail. The prophet is very clear here: a community, even if it converts, is exposed to its errors in its past. There will always be some kind of retaliation, unless the conversion comes with a convincing testimony. Convincing is it if the converted are able to construct trust, esteem and friendship to their old enemies.

St. Paul has a very special relationship with the community of Philippi. It is the only community he accepts personal donations from. His relationship with it is the one of a father who accepts the help from his children where he would have rejected it from a friend or a stranger. The love that shines in his words throughout his letter is testimony for the special bound between him and the disciples in Philippi.

Jesus Christ is taking a Child in the midst of the disciples. And he is asking to become like children. Certainly he does not mean to become childish, to forgot the assembled experience or to act in ignorant way.

He is asking to become anew son or daughter. A child lives this period very intense. It is in a relationship of deep trust to his father and his mother. In a certain moment he wants to share with them all what he encounters. And so it is telling them all what happened to it. Often is telling them also what is happening inside of itself, sometimes confusing the external and the internal realities. A child is also utterly dependent of their parents. There are periods where it doesn't mind this dependence despite of its many, often necessary, fights for independence and emancipation.

Jesus is in fact speaking about the trust and about this dependence. He wants us to share those with Him in the relationship with the Father. He wants us to be His sisters and brothers. However we are in a community and we learn of the experiences of others. Therefore Jesus Christ has harsh words against the once that are leading the disciples into sin.

We should be save when we give trust to our brethren and sisters around us. Moreover we should be save when we give trust to our parents or to a leader or to a spiritual guide. Alas the text shows that it was not even the case in the time when Jesus walked through Palestine.

Everybody of us is child and everybody of us is in a way or another in the role of a father or a mother. The child in the midst of us reminds us our responsibility toward the faith our brethren and sisters, our daughters and sons offer us. To betray the faith of those that Jesus Christ in fact trusted to us is a grave delict and sin.

Betrayal starts always with a secret. Now there are two kinds of secrets: the one we want to share with our mother, our father, our beloved and we can hardly wait until it is shared. Then there is the second one: when a voice in our head says that we have not to tell anyone about the issue. The last one leads over many sufferings into the hell of distrust. In the end we start to say to others not to tell anyone about what we have done. And we fall in a web of secrets that produce lies far away of the transparency of the life in Faith

Being with the Faith of the children, is opening the heart to God and to the brethren and sisters around me. Even to some extent to my neighbor Ahmed or Fatima. Being disciple of Jesus is then being conscious of the precious gift of trust and faith and trying to do for my brethren and sisters what the Father wants me to do for them. Thus everyone of us can become tool of the Holy Spirit for the transformation of the world toward the Holy Kingdom.

Readings of the Sunday Mass:

First Reading

Woe to you who plunder, though you have not been plundered; And you who deal treacherously, though they have not dealt treacherously with you! When you cease plundering, You will be plundered; When you make an end of dealing treacherously, They will deal treacherously with you.

2 O LORD, be gracious to us; We have waited for You. Be their arm every morning, Our salvation also in the time of trouble.

3 At the noise of the tumult the people shall flee; When You lift Yourself up, the nations shall be scattered;

4 And Your plunder shall be gathered Like the gathering of the caterpillar; As the running to and fro of locusts, He shall run upon them.

5 The LORD is exalted, for He dwells on high; He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness.

6 Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times, And the strength of salvation; The fear of the LORD is His treasure.

7 Surely their valiant ones shall cry outside, The ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly.

(Isa 33:1-7 NKJ)

Second Reading

Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.

2 For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.

3 But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.

4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.

5 I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.

6 But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you unless I speak to you either by revelation, by knowledge, by prophesying, or by teaching?

7 Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played?

(1Co 14:1-7 NKJ)

The Gospel

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"

2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them,

3 and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

4 "Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

5 "Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.

6 "But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

7 "Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!

(Mat 18:1-7 NKJ)