Sunday, August 26, 2012

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time: High Fidelity

"Decide today whom you will serve..." These words that we hear in the first reading turn our considerations to the virtue of fidelity. Fidelity, to be faithful is a decision. The people of Israel had continually experienced the fidelity of God, seen in the wonders and in the salvation the Lord of Israel had done in favor of the people whom he had chosen. From the very beginning, God had wanted to be faithful, his decision is once and for all; he will never change in his faithfulness. Deep within the testimony of Sacred Scripture of the history of salvation is the conviction that God is faithful.

But man is not like God, however, he is likewise called to be faithful. This fidelity is based note truth about man that reveals him to be capable of entering into relationships capable of loving and being loved. Man is capable of saying "yes", and he is likewise capable of holding on to his word. However, unlike God, who is eternal and unchanging, firm in his word, man needs to say this "yes" time and again in his life. If we were to compare the word given by God with that given by man (not that it is possible; it would be like comparing a flickering candle flame to the blazing inferno that is the sun), man's word is fickle, always in the danger of changing, now yes, and then no at the moment.

For man, being faithful always entails the decision to say "yes", and to renew whenever needed, whenever possible. Fidelity requires bolstering this decision with the only force that cold make it thrive and grow: love. In our relationship with the Lord, being his requires renewing this decision time and again, and making the love of God--not even ours--as the foundation of this decision. This is the same in every human relationship that is made to last. Being faithful to one's spouse means affirming this decision to love steadfastly whenever it is precisely needed. This goes as well for those who had consecrated themselves especially to the love of God, whether in the priesthood, in the religious life, or in the apostolate. 

Being conscious of the good news that God is faithful allows us to live on this fidelity, and be faithful ourselves. In the gospel we hear precious words coming from Peter: Master, to whom shall we go?

You have the words of eternal life.We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” One proof of God's faithfulness is that he gives us the words of eternal life. The mystery of divine life is not closed to man; in Jesus Christ it is accessible, and only sin is the barrier that impedes the life of God from entering into us. 

With the divine life of grace pulsating within us, we become like God himself, and become faithful as he is. Divine fidelity is translated in our life in the way we give ourselves unreservedly to good, in loving others as they should be loved. In the Second Reading we hear the words of the Apostle Paul: Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ. Man's love become purified of its selfishness, because it begins to be strengthen by divine love. This is the blessing of those who strive to be faithful to God: they become stronger in loving others in the way these should be loved. Let's pray that all married couples, all consecrated persons may love in this way. 

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