“Avoid ‘standing on two boats;’ instead, being firm and resolute’ to stand on Christian principles!”
(Based on 1 Kings 19:19-21 and Mt 5:33-37: Feast of St Anthony of Padua – Saturday of the 10th Week of Ordinary Time)
A Chinese proverb goes thus: “Do not have each foot on a different boat.”
“Standing on two boats” is a trend that we find in our modern world.
… people taking double standards in their life in the society outside and life at home inside
… friends changing their loyalties to one another depending on the circumstance and situation, for their own favour
… spouses cheating on one another, for their own selfish and sinful pleasures
… business partners entering into secretive contracts with other companies, for unaccounted gains
Many such examples of people not being “true to their words” makes today’s Gospel extremely relevant in our context.
In the Gospel, Jesus says: “Let what you say, simply be ‘Yes’ or “No’” (Mt 5:38)
Continuing the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives His instructions to His disciples, on how one should remain “focused in one’s faith”.
The Sermon on the Mount can be also termed as a “Teaching on Challenging Mediocre Lifestyles”.
Jesus, all through the Sermon on the Mount, picks up various topics…
… love for enemies etc…
And raises the level of their understanding for a Christian.
Today’s Gospel presents Jesus speaking on the topic of “vows and promises”…
… emphasizing on the aspect of remaining focused and clear, in one’s words and deeds.
Jesus categorically declares that for a Christian, there ought to be no “double standards”
… a Yes, ought to be a Sincere Yes
… a No, ought to be a Firm No
A Sincere Yes to God… a Firm No to Satan
A Sincere Yes to Holiness… a Firm No to Sin
A Sincere Yes to the Kingdom of God… a Firm No to the ways of the world
The reason to have this conviction is our Faith and Confidence in the Lord.
He is the Lord Who remains the same always: “Jesus Christ, yesterday, today and forever!” (Heb 13:8)
We need to therefore ask ourselves:
Am I focusing on sincerity and honesty, in my daily actions and words…
… or do I sometimes take “double-standards”?
Am I having the proper balance in living the Christian life even though I face many pressures…
… or do I lose the balance and fall into the pits of lethargy, disappointments and laxity?
Am I having the confidence and the trust in the Lord and bank on Him at every turn of life…
… or do I experience perplexities of anxiety, despair and despondency?
The world today clearly promotes and propagates insincerity, unfaithfulness and duplicity.
Glamour and popularity are the motivations
Business-orientations and short-term gains are the catchwords in relationships
In such a “tricky and trying” situation, a Christian is called forth to avoid “standing on two boats”…
… and instead, “be firm and resolute” to stand on Christian Principles.
We are invited to be encouraged by the lives of Prophets Elijah and Elisha…
… who were highly zealous and staunch for the ways of God
The call of Elisha – wherein he turns away completely from his former way of life – and offers himself wholeheartedly to God, is a great inspiration for all of us (1 Kings 19:19-21)
Our Master Jesus reminds us:
“I prepared for 30 years in silent contemplation of the Christian Virtues…
… 3 years in preaching them
… and 3 hours – on the Cross – in standing firmly in defence of them!
What about you?”
Today we celebrate the Feast of St Antony of Padua…
… one of the most loved Saints, all over the world.
He is popularly invoked by those who have trouble finding lost objects.
But in own day, he was more popular as the “Hammer of Heretics”…
… due to the powerful witness of his life and preaching.
An account in the life of St Antony tells of an Ordination of some Franciscan and Dominican friars both…
… and the superiors desired that someone be designated to preach.
With no one prepared to speak, St Antony was pressed by the other friars in attendance (both Franciscans and Dominicans) to take on the unprepared task.
… but was encouraged by the others to speak “whatever the Spirit of God gave him to say.”
Anthony proceeded to preach with great brilliance, to the shock of all those in attendance!
His zeal, oratory skill, and many conversions won him the title “Hammer of Heretics.”
His brilliance made him the foremost preacher in his day.
May the Powerful Intercession of the “Hammer of Heretics” – St Antony of Padua…
…. help us to always be firm and resolute in our Christian Living!
God Bless! Live Jesus!