“Jesus Christ, Son of God is a Merciful and Compassionate God” SUNDAY GOSPEL REFLECTION 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time By Fr. Serge Santos, OFM

Have you ever thought that our savior Jesus Christ could have done differently in proclaiming the Gospel to the world? In today’s gospel Jesus Christ sends the apostles two by two to the neighboring villages, preaching repentance, casting out demons, and healing the sick. They are to trust absolutely in Divine Providence for daily sustenance.

It’s over two thousand years ago since the time of Jesus Christ. Millions of people have come to know about him and his message. It is a reality that this is still far from the millions and millions in this world who are not evangelized yet. We are still waiting for the event when he would endorse to God, Father and Creator, everyone so that the New Heaven and New Earth could usher in.

As God and Son of God there are alternative ways Jesus Christ could have adopted to evangelize the world quickly. After his resurrection, he could have gone to all corners of the world and could have taught his doctrine to all humanity, proving his words with supernatural deeds (miracles). Yet he chose the more human way of evangelization…he sent his own fellow human beings to bring the good news. In this way he shows his divine love and understanding of weak human nature. This is a lot better way than the supernatural means which he could have done.

God gave humanity free will. Human beings are able to choose between alternatives. Jesus Christ has never used force or coercion on persons to choose heaven as eternal home. The person who chooses heaven can select the means for reaching it. By appointing mortal beings to bring the good news of salvation and the means of getting there to all of us, Christ gives us the opportunity to exercise our free will and thereby merit heaven. We can accept to reject the Gospel of Christ. If Christ chose to inform us miraculously or taught us personally, it is impossible to refuse the Gospel.

Jesus Christ earned heaven for ALL people and not only for Christians. He founded the Church with its truth and aids and shared to those who would become his followers. By virtue of our baptism, we are followers of Jesus Christ. For us, the way of the Gospel is a sure way to reach heaven, if we are faithful to the commandments.

There are still millions of people who have not heard Christ and the church. Other millions who heard of Christ and his church did not accept the Christian way of life because of their upbringing, culture and environment; would Christ exclude them from heaven? Jesus Christ is aware of these millions and He wants them to be in heaven. It could be that their situation and circumstances, lack of knowledge of the Christian truths, limited perception, personal biases, which were brought by circumstances beyond their control prevent them from being attracted to become Christians. Would Jesus Christ exclude them from Heaven? Certainly NOT!

Jesus Christ has foreknowledge of those who could not accept his Gospel and yet they want to reach heaven. This is why he lets other persons who may be doubted to proclaim the Gospel. It would not be acceptable to refuse to listen to his teaching if it was delivered by some other form or preached by Christ personally. These people could be excused if they doubted Christ’s human stewards because of some reasons like their personality and lifestyle. Christ would let them enter heaven! This is telling us that Christ found ways and means to excuse those who choose to trek the wrong way rather than travel on the highway to heaven that he offered.

In all of these we see Divine Mercy and Compassion at work with Jesus Christ. We are all children of God regardless of nationality, race, color and language. The will of God is that all people may be saved, that is, to be able to enter heaven. While on a pilgrimage on earth, we serve Jesus Christ according to our God-given talents. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ’s Divine Mercy and Compassion could reach frontiers and trails less traveled through his chosen workers/followers. Christ continues to shower Mercy and Compassion to people along the way.

With expectant hope may we all enter heaven and live blissfully ever after because our Friend and Good Shepherd Jesus Christ, Son of God, is a MERCIFUL AND COMPAASIONATE GOD.

(Ref: THE SUNDAY GOSPEL by Kevin O’Sullivan, OFM)

About Fr. Serge and his other reflections…..