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Jul 8, 2017 Written by 

14th Sunday in ordinary time year A Be the first to comment!

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Theme:  Meek Messiah

Today we are going to reflect on salvation Leadership that is not only different but unique. In normal circumstances an eligible leader is one who is decisive, ambitious, wise, strong, forceful, assertive, determined and experienced. Nowhere in a dictionary do we get a description pointing to the attributes of meek to be a quality of a would-be leader. In contemporary parlance the term meek is evocative of weakness; in fact, the dictionary defines meek as ‘easily imposed upon; submissive’. Etymologically, however, this word has a much more potent meaning; meek is an apt term for describing Israel’s long-awaited Messiah. Meek comes from the Greek word, praotes, which means not easily provoked.

Aristotle defined it as a virtue between two extremes and understood it as the balance between orgilotes/excessive anger and aorgesia which means complete lack of anger. A meek person therefore understands and controls direction of his/her temper which is one of the great moral dynamics of the world. Meekness is not weakness, but power which is fully controlled. Another way of understanding praotes/meekness is the quality which makes a person capable of learning to be open to God. Those lacking in meekness are people convinced of their own knowledge thus incapable of being taught. Without the discipline of meekness, discipleship is not possible. Only a meek person can recognize the truth of self and dependency on God.

First reading: Zechariah 9:9-10

The earliest known manuscripts of the scrolls of the Minor Prophets indicate no interruption between Zechariah, Chapters 1-8 and Zechariah 9-14, but a keen observation can attribute the book to two distinct sources. First Zechariah which comprises of a series of symbolic visions intended to impart encouragement on the recently returned exiles making him a contemporary and colleague of Haggai, who was instrumental in the reconstruction of Judah after the Babylonian exile around year 520 B.C. This sixth century B.C prophet was the first biblical writer to feature the name of an angel capable to clarify the mysterious visions which were being experienced. This Angel interpreter became a standard feature and a source of assurance that God remains in close contact with his people; aware of their plight because He is the one guiding their course.

The second part of the book of Zechariah that starts from chapter 9 to14 presents God’s message to his people who were surviving amidst a mixture of cultures. This appears to be the work of a later prophet though the precise historical situation is difficult to ascertain. The most important point however is that Zechariah 9:9-10 presents clearly the revival of hope in Davidic messiahship. It happened that with the death of Judah’s last king and the subsequent years of foreign rule under Persia, the messianic anticipation had withered; but Zechariah’s vision made it resuscitate once again. In the text we have just read, Zechariah 9:1-8, God is portrayed as a warrior defending his people against their enemies who later after their conversion are incorporated into the holy people of God. After their conversion and integration, Zechariah declares the reign of a just and peaceable king in terms similar to what is in Isaiah 11:1-9 has now began. His rule is signified not by the horse and chariot which were symbols of war and destruction but by the foal of a donkey, an animal associated with a time of peace.

Like Moses, the great leader of Israel who was described as “the meekest man on the face of the earth” Numbers 12:3.  Because of his trust and faith in God, the future king would be characterized as a meek messiah, one whose power and authority would be derived not from self-assertion but from reliance on God. Through his reign, Israel and Judah would be united again and his dominion would extend to universal proportions. From sea to sea is for sure a reference to the Mediterranean Sea in the west and the Persian Gulf in the east; the River is the Euphrates and the term ‘the ends of the earth’ referred to southwestern Europe is Spain which was thought to be the extent of the then known world. Basing on this the early Christians recognized Jesus’ actions as messianic and understood that the promised reign of universal peace had begun to emerge in his person and through his mission. After his death and resurrection, Jesus’ disciples remembered, preserved and passed on his teaching concerning the virtue of meekness. “Blessed are the meek; they shall inherit the earth” Matthew 5:5.

Second reading: Romans 8:9, 11-13

A person who is categorized to be ‘meek’ is that privileged individual who has been tamed by the power of the Holy Spirit. He/she is compared to a river under control which can be used to generate power; is like a fire under control to the level of warming a home. Meekness is power, strength, spirit and wildness under control. Paul, for his part, described this same quality as living, not according to the flesh and its evil deeds, but according to the Spirit.

When Paul speaks of flesh, he does not simply mean the body or humanity’s carnal nature; by the term sarx, Paul means human nature centered on itself rather than God. Flesh includes the human inclination to weakness and its solidarity with sin and death through Adam. Pneuma/Spirit, on the other hand, refers to humanity centered on and constantly reoriented to God. Paul understood that all human beings, because of their bond with Adam, are ‘in the flesh’. But it is possible for a person to definitively break his/her identification with Adam and live ‘in the Spirit’ by appropriating in faith the gift of salvation made available through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Earlier in his letter to the Romans, Paul had expounded upon the freedoms afforded to all the baptized because of Jesus’ saving work. Having established, in a negative sense, all that Christians have been freed from “from sin and death” cf. Romans 5:12-21, “from sin and self” cf. Romans 6:1-23, and “from the law” cf. Romans 7:1-25, he then goes on to express the positive benefits of Christian freedom. St Paul assures us that through Christ and through the Spirit of God which dwells within us, we are free to live a new life for God. The identity of a believer is living his/her life in the Spirit of God who should dwell in each one of them so that; having the Spirit of Christ, they may belong to Christ and thus be raised to life that lasts forever. The Spirit assists Christians to remain united thus accomplishing the service of God. Through this union, the life of every baptized is transformed, strengthened, cheered up and empowered because “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” Galatians 2:20.

Gospel: Matthew 11:25-30

In Matthew 11:16-24, Jesus confronts those who refuse to believe in him because of lack of meekness. People full of themselves were unreceptive to Jesus’ words and works. In the prayer which is mentioned in today’s text, Jesus praises ‘merest children’ who in their meekness are capable of learning the mysteries of the Kingdom he has come to reveal are worthy candidates for discipleship. After this, Jesus presents a formal invitation extended to all those who in their meekness are willing to come to him to learn and to find refreshment in him.  The virtue of meekness helps any one who assumes it to celebrate the knowledge of God which has come through Jesus Christ. The mention of little ones/children who are open to the mysteries of God is equivalent to the anawim who in meekness and faith look to God as the source and center of their lives. It is not the learned and clever referred to derogatively as ’am-ha aretz, which is Hebrew name for people of the land.

The anawim were despised and regarded as cursed cf. John 7:49 because their observance of the law did not equal that of the Pharisees/’am-ha aretz. Actually, it was the unwieldy Pharisaic halakah, an oral tradition surrounding the law, which had proved to be an intolerable burden to the ordinary people of Jesus’ day. Aware of their situation, as well as the fact that the rabbis referred to the Torah/ law as a yoke; Jesus proposed to those exhausted to exchange their burdensome yoke for the one he offered. Jesus describes his yoke, which is his interpretation of the law as easy and light because it is not an obligation imposed by a lawyer but a choice freely offered and supported by a loving brother and friend cf. John 15:14-15. Central to the yoke of Jesus is not mere words and obligations but Jesus himself. When Jesus instructs: “come to me all you who labor and are overburdened and I will give you rest” Matthew 11: 28, the rest offered is security and peace of following the path of goodness as stated in Jeremiah 6:16. Rest also means God’s gift to those who remain faithful to the covenant with him and enjoy the constancy of his presence cf. Exodus 33:12-14. This invitation to come and find rest is an appealing reminder that every burden and restlessness will be eased for those who after complying with his authority in humility shift their center of gravity to him.

Application

In order to maintain this salvific vision, Jesus invites us to learn from him for he is meek and humble of heart. This is a fundamental quality we all need in life. Meekness is not simple compliance but a daring acquiescence of the will to trust in God regardless of the circumstances. True meekness is possible when I and you dare to agree to the power of God thus becoming a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. Politics and authority notwithstanding, today’s liturgy reminds us that authentic leadership is not defined by buzzwords of being wise, strong and forceful but by virtue of humility.

 

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Ronald Ojilong

I have so much attraction to the service of the church which i do so passionately. All my life, i have lived in the service of the Lord especially through singing in Church and this is my passion, I attribute all this to the foundation i got in my Primary school, St. Kizito Primary School which moulded me to love church service. Here, find reflections to improve your faith, I also invite you to join us at Mbuya and praise the lord. You'll love being part of our community. 

I also invite you to promote this, our Parish website that gives us global outlook to enable us reach and evangilize to millions all around the world. You may do this through promoting the site to all your friends and families online and you may also donate to this project through the office of the Parish priest to enable us upgrade and keep uptodate with the Latest technologies.

May the Good Lord keep and bless you all the days of your life.

Contact: +256776070487 / +256714070487

Email: rojilong@ourladyofafrica.org

 

Website: www.ourladyofafrica.org

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Luganda: 7:30 am.  English: 9:00 am, 11:00 am and 5;00 pm.

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About Our Church

Welcome to Our Lady of Africa Parish Mbuya. We are located near Bugolobi Township in Nakawa Division. It is about 5 kms from the City Centre of Kampala. Mbuya Catholic Parish is a vibrant and diverse community made up of people from different parts of Uganda. We welcome you warmly and joyfully.

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