Readings: Maccabees 7: 1-2, 9-14; Psalm 17, Response: Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.; 2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5
Gospel: Luke 20: 27-40
In 1978, Fr. Archie Intengan, SJ, was the professor in my Theology of Liberation class. I remember his introduction on the first day of class: “One faith, many theologies.”
Theology of Liberation was then relatively new. It started in the Latin American Church, which confronted raging issues such as social injustice and human rights. It was branded as radical and leftist.
Forty years later, we face a similar situation. Pope Francis, from the start of his papacy, emphasized the need to be more pastoral as a Church. His words were backed by action that was later questioned by some groups in the Church.
Change, in almost any form, disturbs the status quo. Thus, it is met with some form of resistance or, at the very least, suspicion.
That’s the same situation in today’s Gospel. The Sadducees did not believe in the Resurrection and it naturally followed that they questioned Christ’s preaching on the Resurrection.
Why the similar pattern after over 2,000 years?
The first obvious answer is turf protection. This comes in many forms. Most insidious is protecting vested interests. This carries a selfish motivation. There is also not wanting to get out of one’s comfort zone.
The other reason is losing sight of the original inspiration of why we are doing what we are doing.
One of the points I ask couples who are getting married is to cherish that moment when they realized they can be together forever. This is a moment of original inspiration.
In my formation work with public schools, I always go back to an original inspiration when my spiritual director told me, “God wants you to do this.”
Original inspirations give us core values, as well as the core of our vision and mission.
The Cross and the Resurrection form the central mystery of our Christian faith. It is our vision, our mission and our core value.
It challenged the status quo 2,000 years ago, and it continues to challenge it now. It is the nature of original inspirations, always dynamic and life-giving.
The context of its original inspiration is changing, and it is this context that the inspiration must continuously transform.
In theology, there is the term “the proleptic presence of God’s Kingdom,” i.e., it is already present, but not yet in its fullness. Its perfection is yet to come in a future event.
Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ, describes a similar movement when he says that all of creation is tending towards the Omega Point.
Going back to original inspirations also helps us discover common ground. Common ground is what helps us overcome turf protection, realizing sharing empowers all. It encourages us to go beyond our comfort zone, knowing we are not alone.
It is this common ground where vision, mission and core values can be shared to come up with a common inspiration that enriches the individual inspirations of communities.
Christ championed this by constantly sticking to his vision, mission and core value of the Cross and Resurrection, and inviting all of us to join him and follow him.
Diversity in unity
Diversity in unity reflects the gift of standing on the common ground of Christ’s Cross and Resurrection. The past 2,000 years is the track record of this vision, mission and core value. It has produced Jesuits, Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites, Augustinians, Missionaries of Charity, Salesians, Opus Dei members and lay communities.
The diversity in the charisms or gifts the many groups within the Church shows that there is one faith, but many ways to live it out and make our world better.
The central grace that will transform lives and the whole of creation is the Cross and Resurrection. It is the singular grace that leads us to Christ who has redeemed us.