“Built On Rock”



(Part 6)


September 25, 2019

Today’s readings:

Ezra 9:5-9

Tobit 13:2-6

Luke 9:1-6

     We need to be built on Rock. That is about who we are and what we do. It is about our relationship with God and our doing the work of God.

     It begins with restoration. The Israelites had been exiled to Babylon but now were allowed by Cyrus, king of Persia, to return to Jerusalem in Judah. Jerusalem lay in ruins, and everything, from the physical infrastructure to the temple to the ritual worship, had to be restored. Today we too face a crisis in our Church. Many Catholics have fallen away and we continue to lose Catholics by the day. The Church herself is threatened with modernists who are overturning age-old teachings.

     This is the milieu we as CFC-FFL find ourselves in. Our own brethren in CFC veered away from our basic vision, which inevitably led to a split. We consider ourselves the remnant that God has raised in order to work at restoration, and renew the path intended for us from the very start. This work has not only been for the restoration of our community, but also for the renewal of the larger Church. As with the Israelites, Ezra the reformer says, “mercy came to us from the Lord, our God, who left us a remnant and gave us a stake in his holy place” (Ezr 9:8a). 

     It all starts with repentance for sin, both for our own and for the sins of others, especially in our community and our Church. We who realize the holiness of our God and the ugliness of sin must be weighed down by such transgressions. “When I had heard this, I tore my cloak and my mantle, plucked hair from my head and beard, and sat there devastated.” (Ezr 9:3). All of us must dread the consequences of our rejection of God. “Around me gathered all who were in dread of the sentence of the God of Israel on the apostasy of the exiles” (Ezr 9:4a). What is the way out? It is repentance. “Then, at the time of the evening sacrifice, I rose in my wretchedness, and with cloak and mantle torn I fell on my knees, stretching out my hands to the Lord, my God.” (Ezr 9:5). And Ezra said a penitential prayer (Ezr 9:6ff).

     Now here is our assurance. No matter how far we have strayed, no matter how much a mess we have made in our community, no matter how desperate the situation in our Church seems to be, “when you turn back to him with all your heart, and with all your soul do what is right before him, then he will turn to you, and will hide his face from you no longer.” (Tb 13:6a). With true repentance, there is restoration. With restoration in our personal relationship with God, there is the opportunity to once again be used by Him to accomplish His purposes through us, to do our mission, including the renewal of our Church. “Thus he has given us new life to raise again the house of our God and restore its ruins” (Ezr 9:9c).

     Now what work has God given us to do? Our mission is the very mission of Jesus. Our work is the same work given the apostles. Jesus “sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God” (Lk 9:2a). The primary work of God is salvation. For this to happen, people need to meet Christ the Savior. Then we need to live Christ our Master. When we turn back to Jesus and when we start to do what is right, then there is salvation. We are able to meet Christ when other people share Christ. Such is the need for the proclamation of the gospel.

     Then, in doing the work, we like the apostles would come against diabolical forces, but Jesus “gave them power and authority over all demons” (Lk 9:1a). They were “to cure diseases” (Lk 9:1b), especially the infirmity of sin, including negative speech, disunity in the body of Christ, the failure of servant leadership, and the like. They were sent “to heal the sick” (Lk 9:2b), to bring God’s wholeness and well-being into the spiritual and physical realm.

     So, if we are to be built on the Rock that is Christ, we follow in Jesus’ footsteps as well as that of his apostles. “Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere.” (Lk 9:6).

     Onward to every town and area in the whole world. Onward to the grassroots at the peripheries. Onward to rapid, massive and worldwide evangelization.