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Homilies by Fr. Normandy V. Segovia, Parochial Vicar

Faith: an active Response to God's Call to Salvation

13th Sunday of the Year, 2007

One spring a terrible flood engulfed a rural area. An old man was stranded in his house. As the old man stood at his kitchen window, a boat appeared. The driver said, "Climb aboard and save yourself". No thanks, said the man. "I trust the Lord. He'll save me". The driver shook his head and drove off. The next day the flood rose to the second floor of the house. As the old man stood at the second floor window watching the water, another boat appeared. The driver said, "climb aboard and save yourself." No thanks, said the man. "I trust the Lord. He'll save me". The driver shook his head and drove off. The next day the water rose to the roof of the house. As the old woman sat on the roof watching the water, a helicopter appeared. The pilot called down over a loudspeaker, I'll drop a rope ladder to climb aboard and save yourself." No thanks, said the old man. "I trust the Lord. He'll save me". The driver shook his head and flew off. On the next day the flood engulfed the house, and the old man drowned. When he got to heaven, he said to St. Peter, before I go inside, I want to register a complaint. I trusted God would save me from the flood, but he let me down. St. Peter gave the old man a puzzled look and said "I don't know what more the Lord could have done for you. He sent you two boats and a helicopter".

When God saves us, He requires us faith. However the kind of faith that God asks us is a faith which is not only believing but rather it is a faith fully demonstrated in our actions. I remember my professor in the seminary once said that revelation is by nature dialogical. God communicates himself in a dialogue which requires a giver and a receiver. God gives, and we receive. When God speaks we listen. When God invites, we are expected to respond. Our faith then is a response of active participation by listening to His words and applying God's word in our day to day living.

In our gospel of today we have two characters who give us a good example of what it means to have faith in Christ. Their faith demonstrated an active response to God's invitation for healing. First, we have the sick woman who believed that Jesus has the power to heal her. But she also realized that in order to be healed she must do more than just believing. She must do her part, in response to Christ. She couldn't just wait at home and do nothing if she desired to be healed. In her own effort she went and approached the Lord to heal her. We heard from the gospel story how persistent she was in asking the Lord to heal her. The same with Jarius, His daughter was sick and he went to beg Jesus to heal his daughter. Jarius and the woman experienced the healing power of God because of their faith which characterized by active response to the call of Jesus for healing.

As baptized Christians, God calls us too to have a faith of active response to our relationship with Christ. When we are in dialogue in God, faith is essential. Faith is not just believing God or acknowledging God, but it is about living up our faith by cooperating with God in his saving mission. We participate in His saving acts. God saves our lives in ordinary means. But we have to do our part and cooperate with God by using the normal, and by ordinary means - our human response.

see Mark. 5, 21 - 24. 35-43 [Top]

Discipleship is serving and loving God in the faces of the poor

25th Sunday of Ordinary Time, 2007

In today's gospel underlines once again how difficult it was for the Disciples of Christ to understand and accept the suffering and death of their messiah. Such destiny of Christ seemed to be incompatible with their hopes and expectations of messiah. They thought that the messiah would mean victory and power that Jesus, with his mighty power, would rule the earth and destroy all their enemies especially to overthrow the Roman oppressors.

At the moment when Jesus was instructing them about the paradox of a suffering messiah, they argued among themselves, asking which of them is the greatest. Jesus answered them: Those who want to be first will be the last and servant of all. What is important is not power and success, public recognition and prestige, but loving and unconditional service.

To whom are we going to render our service that would fulfill our calling to be true Disciples of Christ? Jesus in our gospel provides us a model of what it means to be true disciple. A true disciple is the one who accepts Jesus as His Lord by receiving the child.

Why Jesus used the image of a child. In our society, the child is usually perceived as vulnerable and fragile person. We need a full attention of their lives in order to take care of them well. Their innocence has prevented them to be involved in the world that we live in. They considered to be immature and without power or social significance.

In many ways children symbolize all those who are in a comparable position, the poor and the sick, widows and foreigners, those who are I need of love and care, those who are lowly, those who are vulnerable, and ignored by society.

God reminds us that our discipleship must be deeply rooted in our love for God through loving our neighbors specially those who are lowly and poor. The attitude of a true disciple of Christ is to provide a loving service to all who are in need. Loving service, however, could only be fulfilled if there is humility and attitude of openness to accept those who are lowly. Concretely, we need to provide an open caring space for them where they could be secured, where they could feel the importance of their person. We need to protect the lowly and the vulnerable from any forms of abuses that would destroy their dignity, we have to promote their value, and help in strengthening them in their struggles and difficulties in life.

May the Lord who calls us to be His disciples give us the grace to see Jesus in our poor and lowly brothers and sisters.

see Mark 9:30 - 37 [Top]