By Fr. Roy Cimagala
REMEMBER that gospel episode where the disciples of Christ were not welcomed in a Samaritan town because their destination was Jerusalem? (cfr. Lk 9,51-56) They suggested to Christ that they “call down fire from heaven to consume them.” To which Christ just rebuked his disciples and instead went to another village.
The obvious lesson to learn is that we should not make things worse by adding fuel to the fire, or by responding to evil with evil, out of a hurt sense of righteousness or of a zeal that has gone bitter and has done away with the duty of charity. We should rather look for other ways of defusing the situation, just as Christ did.
Sometime ago, there was this drag queen who made fun of Christ. His video became viral in an instant as strong negative reactions rained on him or her or whatever pronoun may now be applied to this individual. Several cities declared the drag queen as persona non grata.
But the drag queen stood his ground, trying to rationalize his/her actuation by saying that he was misunderstood, and that no one bothered to talk to him about why he did it, and that he meant well with what he did since it was done for the sake of art.
Well, everyone will always have some reason for any action he takes. Of course, not all reasons are right. But for as long as the person concerned feels he was right in doing something that objectively is wrong or is considered wrong by the majority, he deserves to be heard and given some clarification, correction and penalty that may be due.
He should not be simply dumped, ostracized and practically considered an untouchable evil. That’s not human, let alone Christian. The proper way to deal with him is to reach out to him to help him.
The way to go is to love everybody, irrespective of who or how one is. Christ even told us to love our enemies. If we have this kind of love, then we would have zero bitterness against anyone who may contradict us, because as St. Paul said, true charity “takes no pleasure in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Cor 13,6-7)
We have to learn to be patient in handling the contradictions that we can encounter in our life. We just have to look for an alternative way in resolving issues and situations like this.
We have to learn the art of loving with the love of God as shown by Christ on the cross. It is a love that is patient, willing to suffer for the others. It is gratuitously given, even if it is not reciprocated.
We have to make sure that we are always burning with the zeal of love. We have the danger to fall easily into complacency, lukewarmness, mediocrity. We should always be on the lookout for these perils.
We need to fill our mind and heart with love, and all that love brings—goodness, patience, understanding and compassion, mercy, gratuitous acts of service, generosity and magnanimity.
Yes, there’s effort involved here. Great, tremendous effort, in fact. But all this stands first of all on the terra firma that is God’s grace, which is always given to us in abundance if we care to ask and receive it. Nothing human, no matter how well done, would prosper unless it is infused also with God’s grace.