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The Word, The Truth

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Homily for Friday of the 18th Week in Ordinary Time, 05 August 2022, Mat 16:24-28

Today I invite you to reflect on the last line of the Gospel where Jesus says, “…there are some…who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” Normally, we understand the coming of the kingdom of God to mean the end of the world. So what did Jesus mean by that?

In English there is a way of expressing your feeling about experiencing within your lifetime things that are beyond your imagination. You can say, “I never thought I’d LIVE TO SEE THE DAY when…” Is Jesus saying that it is possible for people to experience the kingdom of God within their lifetime?

In the context of the new tension that is now brewing between China and Taiwan after the recent visit of Senator Nancy Pelosi in Taiwan, we cannot but start fearing the possibility of another global conflict erupting. A conflict that can get us involved, given the fact that we’re a next-door neighbor of Taiwan, and China has already set up some military installations in the West Philippine Sea.

Will China do to Taiwan what Russia has not yet finished doing to Ukraine in Eastern Europe? Will the United States drag its allies in Asia to an armed confrontation with China? These are scary times, to say the least.

Each time something like this is happening, the dream of a global peace as prophesied by Isaiah is becoming more volatile. In Isaiah 2:4, the prophet foretells a time of peace, when nations “shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.” He says when that time comes, “One nation shall not raise the sword against another anymore, nor shall they train for war ever again.”

What we are seeing seems to be the opposite. And since we know that war is what the arms industries need most in order to promote their lucrative business, it will mean governments will be pressured again to allot bigger budgets for military defense. It will mean nations relying more on weapons for their national security than diplomacy, dialogue and peaceful negotiations. It will mean larger nations asserting their supremacy again on the basis of the “MIGHT IS RIGHT” principle. It will mean starting all over again since the last trauma of a world war that had already forced us to come up with international rules and policies in order to consciously avoid war. It’s like going back to square one just when we have started to behave as a civilized community of nations, mutually respectful of the sovereignty of every fellow nation big or small.

Our first reading is actually predicting a good news, the coming of peace for Judah. Sadly, that peace came only for a very brief time. They were saved from invasion by the Assyrians but were later invaded again by the Babylonians. Jerusalem, which had been destroyed by the Babylonians would be destroyed again by the Romans. The holy city of Jerusalem, Yerushalaim in Hebrew, which means City of Peace, is a city that has not known peace for a long time. It is the city where Jesus had been violently executed on the cross.

And it is Jesus who assures us that we do not have to wait for the end of the world to know peace, to experience God’s kingdom already present among us. For him the only kind of advocates who can really work for peace are not those who resort to violence, not those who rely on weapons, and certainly not those who are too eager to sacrifice others, especially the poor, on the altars of modern civilizations. It is rather those who have no other life to offer than their own, those who are ready to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow in the footsteps of the only one who can bring about lasting peace, the only one who can give us a foretaste of the kingdom of God.

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Veritas Editorial

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

President of Radio Veritas

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