SO, AS CHRISTIANS, WE CAN LIVE A QUIET AND PEACEABLE LIFE, GODLY AND RESPECTFUL IN EVERY WAY
(A biblical reflection on the 25th Ordinary Sunday, September 19, 2010)
Second Reading: 1Tim 2:1-8
First Reading: Amos 8:4-7; Psalm: Ps 113:1-2,4-8; Gospel Reading: Lk 16:1-13
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony to which was borne at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling (1Tim 2:1-8 RSV).
What kind of conduct is appropriate for a member of God’s people? The first letter to Timothy encouraged Christians to pray for civic rulers. The aim of these prayers seems to be religious tolerance so that those in the Church can live “a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way” (1Tim 2:2).
We are called Christians, meaning Christ’s disciples or followers. We are indeed called to be exemplary citizens as well as complete Christians. One of the means to fulfill these expectations is to pray regularly for all people (as well as for civic leaders) so that Christians can live peacefully in this world and practice their beliefs with complete freedom. There should be a unity in the lives of Christians that acknowledges that there are separate areas in our lives which need not be in opposition to each other. In other words, there should be no dichotomy between our spritual lives and our lives as citizens.
The thoughts about the need for this kind of integrity in the lives of Christians were well-expressed by the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council: “Christians must be conscious of their specific and proper role in the political community: they should be a shining example by their sense of responsibility and their dedication to the common good; they should show in practice how authority can be reconciled with freedom, personal initiative with the solidarity and the needs of the whole social framework, and the advantages of unity with profitable diversity. They should recognize the legitimacy of differing points of view about the organization of worldly affairs and show respect for their fellow citizens, who even in association defend their opinions by legitimate means. ………Those with a talent for the difficult yet noble art of politics, or whose talents in this matter can be developed, should prepare themselves for it, and, forgetting their own convenience and material interests, they should engage in political activity. They must combat injustice and oppression, arbitrary domination and intolerance by individuals or political parties, and they must do so with integrity and wisdom (Church in the Modern World/ Gaudium et Spes, 75).
Short prayer: Heavenly Father, by Your Holy Spirit, make us persons who do have a concern for the spiritual condition of all people, and in a particular way for the leaders of nations, so that we all may be instruments of the advancement of the Kingdom of God on earth. We pray this, together with Mary, in the precious name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Jakarta, September 18, 2010 [Memorial of Saint Joseph of Cupertino (1603-1663), Conventual Franciscan Priest ]
A Christian Pilgrim