“Feast of the Lord and Giver of Life, Love for The Unborn”
January 17, 2021
Second Sunday After Epiphany
Psalm 10:3-4, 8-9, 12, 14, 17-18
1 Corinthians 15:19-26
Bishop Ariel P. Santos
We are here today to know God and to make Him known! This is our mission; and how do we make Him known? Jesus Christ says in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
The Season of Epiphany is the time to make Him known. Jesus enlightens every man and I hope that I can bring to you the light of His Word today.
We are celebrating the Feast of the Lord and Giver of Life today, making a declaration that: all life is sacred. Everyone is a child of God. We are all God’s children. St. Paul says, “We are His offspring.” Some may be estranged, lost, and weak but they are still God’s children. If we are all God’s children, then, everyone is our brother. Every human being is our brother - not just the Christians, but all, regardless of religion. There may be those who are astray, but yet, they are still family. They just haven’t found their way home yet. There is no “us and them”; see everyone as our brother.
1John 3:15 says, “15 Everyone who hates his brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him.” Don’t be like Cain who killed his brother. If we have love for our brother, we don’t kill. But who is our brother? What about sinners? Do we condemn them? Do we ill kill them? Their life is sacred in the eyes of God.
1 John 4:20 says, “He who does not love his brother cannot love God who is in his brother.” He who cannot love his brother whom he sees cannot love God whom he does not see because God is in brother. We don’t love God any more than we love our brother. We only love God as much as we love the least of our brother. If we believe that all life is sacred, we shouldn’t hate, exclude, and marginalize anyone lower or least than us.
We have to see God’s image in our brother. There should be no competition. We are to be like children as it says in Matthew 18 – humbling ourselves; receiving each other; not causing our brother to stumble. It is not ‘one-upmanship’- making ourselves seem to be better than others. It is insecurity for insecurity makes us want to be greater than others. It is insecurity that makes us prove that we are better than others.
Look at St. Paul’s attitude in 1Corinthians 15:9 where he said, “For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” St. Paul is saying, “I am the least of all the saints and I was just given grace.” Jesus Christ being the Lord of all came not to lord it over all people but to serve people. Jesus said that if we want to be great, be like a child. Children were considered to hold the lowest status in society in the ancient world. Jesus said to receive and lift them up and we will be great in the kingdom of our God.
Division happens when people think they are better or they are more important than others. Why do some people steal? In most cases, it is because they think their needs are more important saying, “I will take what is yours.” Why do women have abortion? In most cases, it is because their pleasure is more important and they don’t need anyone because they think their life is more important.
We are not more important than others. This is a wrong attitude and parents should be teaching their children that they are not better than others. We serve others; we do the work. We outdo others in service, in humility. We should be humble because all of us are fellow heirs of God. Be the least; receive and lift those who are the least for they are our fellow heirs in Christ.
The Jews thought they were the favored and the Gentiles were cursed. In Hebrew, Gentiles meant ‘nations’ so Gentiles are fellow heirs of God’s promise. St. Paul says in Ephesians 3:6, “to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” Some Christians say, “We are the saved, the healed and the blessed; and others are sick, poor. Only a chosen will get to heaven and majority will go to eternal destruction.” We are just as unworthy as another person, but we all have received the saving grace of God! God doesn’t have human friends or enemies; all are His children.
Jesus gave His life for all because all life is sacred, not just for some. During this pandemic, we wear masks in consideration of others because we protect them from what we may have. We give of our time, our talent and our treasure serving God. We serve God by seeing others with God in them. We are not to grow weary in doing good. After all, God is still the Sustainer and the Giver of life. We will have a full life despite of the COVID and all the difficult situations we may be in because we believe in the gospel of life. We are to do His way – by serving others. St. Paul said in 1Corinthians 15: 25-26, “For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death.” We bring change to the system around us and proclaim the gospel of life to a culture of life.
In closing, I am paraphrasing two Scriptures:
Hebrews 6:10-12, “God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love you have shown in ministering to the needs of the saints, and continue to do. We want each of you to be faithful to the very end. If you are, then what you hope for will fully happen. We don’t want you to slow down. Instead, be like those who have faith and are patient. They will receive what God promised.”
In Jeremiah 31:12-14, 16-17, “They will come and shout for joy on Mount Zion. They will be joyful because of My provision - grain, new wine and oil, the healthy flocks of sheep and cattle. Israel will be like a well-watered garden. And their sadness will be gone. Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their sorrow into joy, and I will comfort them, and they shall rejoice. I will fully satisfy their priests with abundance of offerings, and My people will be satisfied with My goodness, says the Lord. Stop crying. Wipe away your tears. You will be rewarded for your work, declares the Lord. There is hope for your future; your children will come back home. I, the Lord, have spoken.”
We do good not because of a reward that we desire, but because we understand that all life is sacred and we proclaim it and because this is the way it is in the kingdom of our God!