Pastor Column: Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time, October 21, 2018

Pastor Column: Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time, October 21, 2018

Msgr. Joseph Tracy, St. Stanislaus

It has been said that people who experience life-threatening illnesses often have a new outlook on life after their recovery. They “see the world differently.” The same could be said for the entire experience of travel, of making acquaintance with a new culture and its different worldview. Contrary to what we do not often think about, my way is not the way! Jesus addresses the disciples’ way of looking at things with the admonition that we heard in this weekend’s Gospel: It cannot be that way with you.

How many times could we apply that to the misguided notions and attempted rationalizations which justify our bad – sometimes even sinful – behavior:

  • It’s a “dog-eat-dog” world out there. You’ve got to do it to them before they do it to you.

But it cannot be that way with you . . .

  • Always remember the golden rule: those with the gold, make the rules.

But it cannot be that way with you . . .

  • Don’t make any waves. You’ve got to go along to get along. Keep your eyes open and your mouth shut.

But it cannot be that way with you . . .

  • The scumbags and druggies that live in the city – they deserve what happens to them. We work hard out here for what we got. Nobody’s doing us any favors; let them do the same. Hey, look: you got to take care of your own.

But it cannot be that way with you . . .

  • Jesus teaches the disciples that if they really wanted to be His disciple, than they must see the world differently and respond to its challenges with different values.

The world might try to justify vengeance over forgiveness; to celebrate attention-seeking rather than selflessness; insist on preserving unjust systems and conventions, but Jesus asks for a different response, one that is thought-out, in-line with the Gospel, and respects the dignity of all. It does not take a cancer diagnosis or a safari trip to Equatorial Africa to see the world differently. What can make that happen is reflecting on the Word of God and applying it appropriately to our circumstance in life.