Last Weekend ‘Our Lady’s Missionaries’ made a visit to both our Parishes. Sr. Christine Gebel gave us an update on their work since her last visit with us about two years ago. As she spoke at all our Masses, she reflected on the Gospel passage of the lady who had seven deceased husbands and the Sadducees question: “In the Resurrection whose wife will the woman be?” (Lk. 20:27-39) Now in Jesus’ time a wife was more or less the property of a husband, and therefore the question not only enquired about the marriage bond in eternity, but had a connotation of ownership. As she pointed out, no one owns anybody in eternity, and in God’s kingdom in the here and now. As Christians we are called to love our neighbor as our selves, and to live in freedom, as children of God. Her insights came from the Sisters work with oppressed people around the world who are often owned by another. An example being prostitutes one of the Sisters works with in one of their missions. And, from a personal point of view and her involvement in Muslim Christian dialogue in the Philippines, she offered the insight that no one even owns God.
As I reflected on this statement, I thought of the many ways, as humans, we tend to take ownership of another, rather than living in mutual respect, trust, and love. And, even in religion, as we profess and cling to our faith, we assume a certain ownership of God. As we come to the end of our Liturgical year and the feast of Christ the King, it behooves all of us to reflect on our relationships with God and neighbor, and to remind ourselves of this very important insight from a woman who has given her life to Christ, and the building of God’s Kingdom. After all, wasn’t that one of the biggest problems many had with Jesus when he reached out to the sinners and tax collectors. We still hear their shock and complaint week after week in the Gospel: “He eats with sinners and tax collector.”