We are truly the Elect: God’s Chosen People!
Readings: (1st: Wis 18, 6-9; Ps: 32, 1.12.18-22; 2nd: Heb 11, 1-2.8-19; Gos: Lk 12, 35-40)
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers, Province of Nigeria South East. He is currently the Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church Woliwo Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Phone: +23408063767512, +23408024942843
The concept of God’s elect is one which is very strong among the Jews referred to as the “Kahal Yahweh.” That is, the people or elect of God. Biblically and historically speaking, this is right. However, the coming of Christ the first born son of God (Col 1, 15), the New Testament and Covenant broadened the scope of this concept to embrace all who are baptized in Christ Jesus. This is because, “Baptism… makes the neophyte a new creature, an adopted son of God, who has become a partaker in the divine nature…” (CCC 1265). Also, “to be the People of God”, according Pope Francis, “first of all, means that God does not belong to any particular people, because, He is the one who calls us and this invitation is addressed to all, without distinction, because God’s mercy wills everyone to be saved”
Just before his death, Mazi a very wealthy man in all ramifications, decided to put down a Will having being diagnosed of a deadly cancer and advised to prepare for death. He had ONLY one son known to everyone including his very good lawyer friend and his wife. But when he was writing his Will, he simply wrote: “Share all that I own equally among all my SONS and wife.” Thinking he was out of his mind, his lawyer friend said to him: “Sir, but you have only one son!” Mazi asked him: “Do you have any problem with that?” His lawyer responded: “What I mean Sir, is that you wrote SONS instead of son.” Mazi said to his Lawyer: “Yes, I know. I have only one son that is known to you, but there are two others that you do not know and have not seen before. I adopted them when they were very tender and they live abroad.” Then, he brought out a complete document for the adoption of his two other sons and handed it over to his lawyer friend (only God knows why he kept this a secret to himself all these years). Finally, he reiterated what he had already written: “Share all I own equally among my SONS and wife” and added: “Because, they are equally my sons and I have equally included them in my Will!”
On this 19th Sunday therefore, the Church, calls to mind our heritage as the elect and people of God. She acknowledges that though we are a little flock, we have a very strong history which has its firm root and route in the dim and distant past. We worship an awesome and caring God. Therefore, we have the courage to look forward into a glorious future in the kingdom of our Father. Thus, the Psalmist exalts us: “Happy the people the lord had chosen as his own.” In order words, our God has extended his hands to all of us through Christ and considered us worthy of being called his people (Gal 4, 1-7). Unfortunately, many of us Christians have failed to realize our exalted position in the presence of our Father. This failure has resulted to so many setbacks in our lives. Although we are sons and daughters of God, we have remained like aliens in our father’s house. This is why the church today reminds us of our rightful place before God and encourages us to appreciate and take full advantage of this position.
The first reading of today alerts us to the quality and strength of the covenant or oath by which our citizenship as the people of God is established. Therefore, we are admonished to be joyful and courageous because ours is not a position based on mediocrity, but one built on a solid foundation. As God’s elect and people, we have Him as our Father, and so are not supposed to be afraid of the unknown, because he is the master of the future. If we as the elect of God remain righteous and firm on our faith in our Father, then, “the saving of the virtuous will not be cut short.” We are therefore reminded today of the firmness of the divine accord by which we were made children of God and that this accord enables us the people of God, share the same blessings and forthwith, chant the hymn of our Father. The community of the elect is a community built on the foundation of faith. Hence, the 2nd reading highlights this significant element of what qualifies us as God’s people – FAITH. It is faith that characterizes us as God’s people and consequently manifests itself through our professions, actions and activities. This same faith aided our adoption as sons and daughters of God sharing the same Father and heritage with Jesus Christ. Without it we have no claim or place among the Kahal Yahweh. Faith is like the DNA that identifies people of the same lineage or family. It is our proof of paternity to one common Father. As the elect and people of God, God himself has revealed himself fully to us in Jesus Christ who is the fullness of revelation. Hence, we are the elect because unto us have the Mystery of the Kingdom of God been revealed. In light of this, we must take hold of the revealed Mystery which is Christ himself the fullness of our Father’s revelation.
In the gospel, Jesus further reassures us of God’s willingness to consolidate the heritage earmarked for us. This heritage is His Kingdom. First, He alleged our fears that there is no cause for alarm. He went ahead to address us with a pet-like name to strike a note of fondness just the way our earthly parents do. He calls us “little flock”, meaning, my beloved people or my dearest ones etcetera. He did not stop at this, but goes further to bring us a good will message from our Father: “For it has pleased your Father to give you the Kingdom.” This is the resume and apogee of today’s message and good news. However, as the elect of God, Christ warns us to be watchful. This is a conditio sine qua non for us to retain our heritage. If we are caught napping, we might be in danger of losing this exalted position. Therefore, as God’s elect, we must live lives that bear testimony to our Father and heritage, a life that will attract and interest our master during His Parousia. This life is a life of watchfulness! Watchfulness here simply means being conscious of who we are, cherishing and safeguarding our heritage and its distinguishing character, OUR FAITH! It is only through this that we can be that “happy people the Lord has chosen as his own.”
Peace be with you all!