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Our True Value in Christ - Weekday Homily Video

Our True Value in Christ - Weekday Homily Video

Love thy Neighbor  |  Holy lives of inspiration

Today in our gospel we hear how the disciples of Christ found some villager who was blessing the sick and praying for their healing, all in the name of Jesus, and how they tried to stop him because he was not part of their group or company. When the disciples told Jesus about this, He reprimanded them for their envy and fear. Jesus told them that, “No one can perform a miracle in my name and at the same time speak ill of me. Anyone who is not against us is with us.”



The attitudes of envy, fear, and selfishness have destroyed a lot of ministries, Churches, clubs, and associations. Those kinds of attitudes ordinarily come from a place of insecurity in the life of a person. When we are secure in our identity in Christ, we become at peace with ourselves, and we are not threatened by the successes of other people or their contributions to the club, ministry, Church, or association that we belong to.

One of the foundational steps in the spiritual life is securing your identity in Christ, understanding who you are to Christ, and what value you have in him. It is only when we are secure in our identity in Christ that we are at peace, are secure in letting others be themselves, and are secure in creating space to allow others to contribute. Envy, fear, and selfishness come from a place of insecurity in our lives. The antidote to that is finding our true value in Christ.


Partners in Mission


In the same gospel, we also notice Jesus paint a vision of life that was slightly different from what the disciples espoused. While the disciples had an “us” and “them” worldview—where only a small inner circle could be trusted to do God’s work—the Lord had a more nuanced view. He taught the disciples that there were people who were not formally part of their group but contributed in numerous ways to the life-giving work of Jesus. They were doing God’s work as well.

There is a lesson in there about people who may not openly share in our faith or practice it in the traditional ways we do, but in their practice, they live out the gospel. We see them next door at My Brother’s Keeper, we see them in Africa treating the sick, feeding the hungry, sinking boreholes so that people get clean drinkable water, and we see them provide relief to others. The Lord encourages us to become partners in mission with such people. The “us” and “them” narrower vision of the disciples of Jesus would never allow such collaboration.


Saint Rita of Cascia


St. Rita of Cascia lived in the Italian region of Umbria. She had two sons and a brutal husband. When her husband was violently murdered by some other party, she urged forgiveness in contrast to the customary revenge of her day. She became an Augustinian nun and spent close to 40 years in prayer and service to the poor.

We live in a world that has normalized revenge, that has normalized cancelling out people. St Rita challenges us to consider forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation.


Forgiveness and Reconciliation


St. James tells us that we are only a puff of smoke, “a mist that appears briefly and then disappears.” That is the nature of human life. We cannot afford to procrastinate on letting go of the past, of forgiving ourselves, and forgiving whoever hurt us in life. When we understand human life as a mere puff of smoke, we understand the value of focusing on, and doing only what God asks us, or shows us to do. That way we save ourselves from wasting our precious time here on earth lingering in unforgiveness and negative attitudes.

May the Lord teach us to see goodness in others who may not be on the same spiritual level as we are or even belong to our faith. May the Lord give us the grace to forgive the deepest hurts of our lives just as St. Rita did; and may the Lord continuously remind us of our value that flows from Him.

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About Father Fred Jenga, C.S.C.

Father Fred Jenga, C.S.C. is the President of Holy Cross Family Ministries. Father Fred, a native of Uganda, has multiple degrees including theology, philosophy, and communications. His native language is Lusoga and he speaks English, Luganda, Kiswahili, and Rutooro. He has been a teacher, researcher, author and family minister. Father Fred is committed to helping build God’s masterpiece one family at a time.