Two Sundays ago, we celebrated the Solemnity of The Most Holy Trinity. Three years ago, Year A 2020, when we celebrated the Solemnity of The Most Holy Trinity, I shared with you that the basic thing we know about God is God is three (not the same as there are three Gods), and God is One. God is Trinity; this is not the unity of a single person, but the unity of three distinct persons. It is unity and not uniformity. The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Spirit, and the Spirit is not the Father, yet in the three, we have One God without conflict. Since we have been baptized as Christians in this One God and three Persons, we are to be like the Trinity; we are to be like the God we worship.

Today, we are already into the second part of the Ordinary Time of the Liturgical Year A. Like I shared with you at the beginning of the first part of the Ordinary Time of this Year A a few months ago, we use the liturgical color green in Ordinary Time to remind us of the green vegetation. The Ordinary Time is the time for Christian growth, it is the time we bear fruits based on all that we have received from the other liturgical seasons, in this case, Lent and Easter Seasons.

In the Gospel passage of today, Jesus calls his closest helpers, the Twelve Apostles, and he sends them out with authority to drive out unclean spirits, to cure every disease and illness and to announce the arrival of the Kingdom of heaven. The Gospel passage tells us the name of each of the twelve apostles. Many scholars, including Pope Benedict XVI, have studied the diversity in the Twelve, and have tried to group them based on what some of them have in common. Two of the apostles come from what some call the Zealot Party, they are, Simon the Zealot or the Cananaean and Judas Iscariot. Those in this group are known for their zeal for the Law. There are Old Testament examples of those in this group who are ready to die/kill in defense of the Law (Phinehas, Elijah, Mattathias, etc.). The Zealots in the New Testament were determined to drive out the Romans who were occupying their territory.

Matthew (Levi), a tax collector, who collaborated closely with the ruling (foreign) Roman power and had to be classified as a public sinner, is at the other extreme of the Twelve compared to the Zealots. The fishermen from Lake Genesareth, Simon, who goes by the name Peter, his older brother Andrew, and the Zebedee brothers, James and John, make up the main group of the Twelve. Two of the twelve, Philip and Andrew, have Greek names. When the Greeks came to see Jesus on Palm Sunday, it was these two that they approached. That suggests that the two of them were raised to be more open to the Gentile culture.

Yes, be like the God you worship. Our God is three in One. In God we have, not the unity of a single person, but the unity of three distinct persons. It is unity and not uniformity. Even though we can assume that every one of the Twelve was a believing, observant Jew who looked forward to Israel’s deliverance, they were a very diverse group in terms of their actual opinions, how they thought Israel would be saved, backgrounds, personalities, and attitudes.  Jesus knew about their differences, yet, he welcomed them into the college of apostles because he knew each one has something to offer. He welcomed them to be his apostles, not just because of their differences, but in spite of their differences, and because of what he is capable of making out of them.   One way to prepare for heaven is to become comfortable with diversity. From my understanding, there are no partitions in heaven based on age, tribe, race, color, gender, status, etc. There is only one heaven for all. If you are not comfortable with diversity here, I am afraid what eternity will look like for you. No matter how holy you are, no matter how intelligent you are, you cannot contain the entirety of the goodness of God. So we must create room for those who are not like us to have their own share of God. Yes, we may think others are not qualified to be part of this mission, you may think others are not qualified to be in this Church, or that you are not qualified, but remember, God does not call the qualified, he qualifies those he calls.

Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Ochigbo

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