Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A-2011

From Vincentian Encyclopedia
Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled (Lk. 1:45—NAB)

I doubt it that Zechariah’s proclamation of joy will make sense to those steeped in dictatorial absolutism. It is because the reason for joy is the coming of a king unlike any other in the world. The king of the universe of the prophetic announcement is out of the ordinary, out of this world: besides being just, and a savior at that, he is humble and comes riding on an ass to proclaim peace to the nations; he is not mounted on a war horse to harass enemies and subjects alike. I do not think any dictator in his right mind, so to speak, would be willing to let go of his chariots, horses and bows, and not consider or show himself to be a superpower of a superior who is deserving of blind and absolute obedience. A dictator seeks to subjugate; he rejects every suggestion that he takes upon himself the yoke of another power, no matter how easy it may be promised.

The subjugated, on the other hand, who know to recognize someone bigger and more powerful than themselves do not find it too difficult to accept as credible and consoling the above-mentioned prophetic utterance. By subjugated I am referring, for example, to those poor folks who are not any less long-suffering as were those spoken of by St. Vincent de Paul [1]. Included, yes, among the subjugated are those who are exhausted by today’s endless wars and have been enduring for years miseries of all kinds. The future seems to them so uncertain that they end up convincing themselves that there is nothing left but to die. But not withstanding their desperate situation, they do not stop hoping. Without money and lacking almost every resource, the crushed cannot but turn to but God and believe with all simplicity that they will be wanting in nothing so long as they have God. Because of their true religion, their lively faith, they have strength for everything.

But is not such a religion merely the opium of the people? Such a lively faith is often criticized as being only a defense mechanism that pours into the suffering human species’ bitter cup a few drops, sweet and soporific, of illusory love, hope and belief and which makes bearable the unhappy condition of servitude of the crucified people [2]. The wicked who are exceedingly powerful can mock as much as they want the poor man’s hope, but it does not at all mean that the Lord is not his refuge (Ps. 14:6) nor does it make a lie of the teaching that it is has been God’s gracious will to hide the mysteries of the kingdom from the wise and the learned and reveal them to the little ones, the simple. As a matter of fact, St. Vincent’s religion was not sleep-inducing by any means; impelled by the love of Christ, he cast his lot with the poor of the land and worked tirelessly to lift them up and thus proved true the finding of sociological studies that those who think above all of what is above are the ones who are most determined to see to it that the overworked and overburdened of this earth are given rest and who do the most for them.

Hence, no matter how much it is thought that to believe the real presence of Jesus in the holy Eucharist is no more than to settle for an illusion, to eat the bread and drink the cup always means, regardless of whether the communicant is aware of it or not, honoring the body of Christ in such a way that no poor person goes hungry or is made to feel ashamed. To live in the Spirit makes for mortal bodies being vivified.


NOTES:

[1] P. Coste XI, 201.
[2] Cf. http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opio_del_pueblo (accessed June 29, 2011).