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23rd Week Thursday

23rd Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, 13-09-18
1 Cor 8:1-7, 11-13 / Luke 6:27-38

Scandals come in many forms and often it is in big and shameful ways.

The world has had its share of scandals, from embezzlements that brought down reputable banks, to politicians having affairs, and down to aid for poor and hungry being siphoned off by the rich and those in power.

The Church also has had its share of scandals, from sex abuse cases, to power struggles and schisms and heresies, etc.

Scandals are hidden at the start, but when they explode, the reverberations travel far and wide.

In the 1st reading, St. Paul talked about scandals of a lesser nature. He warned about eating foods that are sacrificed to idols.

We may think that it is hardly a scandal, but in those times, it would be enough to cause another's downfall in the faith.

Because whatever we do or say is not a private affair. The effects and reverberations of our words and actions go further and wider than we think.

What Jesus said in the gospel may also sound like a scandal to us. He tells us love our enemies and to do good to those who hate us, bless those who curse us and to pray for those who treat us badly.

And as if that is already not repulsive enough, Jesus even tells us that when a man slaps us on one cheek, present the other cheek too.

But before we start to think that what Jesus is saying is getting too ridiculous, let us remember that if what is done in the dark is set for destruction, then what is done in the light brings about restoration.

May we follow the ways of Jesus and walk in the light, and bring about restoration from the shame and humiliation that the world and the Church has seen.

When we make a deeper reflection of what we are doing when we receive Holy Communion, it is really awesome.

We believe that we are receiving the Body of Christ. We believe that Christ is the Risen Lord and God.

When we consume the sacred host which is the Body of Christ, we open our hearts to Christ to take possession of our whole being and to make His home in us.

All this profound mystery is expressed in the simple act of eating. In other words the simple act of "eating" the sacred host expresses the awesome reality of humanity coming into communion with divinity.

Yet it also a known fact that other religions, and even cults, use the act of eating to express a communion with the deity or idol or whatever that is worshipped.

For that same reason, St. Paul said in the 1st reading that he rather not eat meat which was offered to idol, not because he believed in the reality of idols, but rather to avoid causing a scandal.

At the same time, he was also emphasizing on his knowledge of what he was coming into communion with in the Eucharist.

He was coming into communion with the one true God, the Father from whom all things come and for whom we exist; and with Jesus Christ through whom all things come and through whom we exist.

When we truly know and understand what we are doing at Holy Communion and whom we are receiving into our hearts, then we will surely be able to accept what Jesus is teaching us in the gospel.

Yes, we would love our enemies, do good to those who hate us, bless those who curse us, pray for those who treat us badly.

And we will say with a deep conviction: It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me (Gal 2:20).