20 October 2009 Tuesday of the 29th Week in Ordinary Time
Romans 5, 19-21; Psalm 40, 7-17; Luke 12, 35-38
The first reading today affirms that it takes just one man to destroy the world, and one man to change it. St. Paul articulates the reality of sin and its universal impact upon all of creation. He recognizes that sin is an active force within and among all human beings and has been present since the beginning of humanity. He said that sin is expressed mainly through the “flesh”. But, this has to be clarified: flesh does not mean body, but describes a person from an unredeemed weakness, for example, evil, error or sinfulness. Our sinfulness thus caused alienation from God and fellow human beings. We have done this by our social and personal individual acts. But Paul gives us the contrast with Jesus: whose life and death redeemed us, and showed us how it is to live a good and upright life befitting who we are.
In our lives, we discover these two forces. In both forces, we realize how we can influence others, for better or for worse. On one hand, we know that we can lead people to sin. We sometimes know this because we can identify with the villains of literature, our movies or our television series. Though we dislike villains, but in truth, we understand when one of them exacts revenge when hurt, rejected, and insulted. We know that when we experience these unfortunate events, our anger pushes us to wish them badly. And without our conscience or societal moral norms, we could have buried them alive. This force has produced its own following such as Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Ivan the Terrible, Vlad Tepes, Elizabeth Bathory, Catherine Knight, among the many most evil men and women in history.
On the other hand, many of us do not actualize our evil thoughts. Because we know that there is a better way to respond to them. There is “Jesus’ way.” There is a power that saves us from performing those thoughts. We either imagine how we would disappoint the persons we love; how one single brutal act can jeopardize our reputation; how it would damage our relationships with God and with others; how it would haunt us forever. Because, we also discover a power within us that can inspire those around us. When we are challenged and we face that challenge squarely, we discover that we have the strength inside of us to overcome almost any pain and problem, despite its enormity and its emotional intensity. When we are consumed by concern and love for others, our true kindred spirits are awakened. This is the stuff saints and heroes are made of. And the world is not wanting of them.
This is the same force that many people discovered in the aftermath of the two calamities that ravaged the Philippines. In the midst of government inefficiency and corruption, the private sector and the seemingly apathetic young rose to the challenge to help save those who have been gravely affected. We have countless rescuers and volunteers, donors, and those who used the web to broadcast emergency numbers, relief goods needed, centers for relief. At the center of hopelessness, we have produced a country of heroes. Indeed the power of each individual can change the world.
Here is a video that drives the point. Hope you enjoy this.