By Fr. Roy Cimagala
“Whoever is not against us is for us.” (Mk 9,40) With these words, Christ told his apostles, and is telling us now, that we have to be wary of our tendency to be exclusivisitic in our outlook in life due to the unavoidable differences and conflicts among us, and the fact that each one of us is unique.
Such condition in life does not entitle us to be exclusivistic. If ever, such condition should only prod us to work for more unity among us, a unity that is based on truth and charity as defined by those words of Christ cited above.
We have to remember that everything comes from God through Christ in the Holy Spirit. God is our Creator, Christ is our savior, and the Holy Spirit is our sanctifier that keeps alive the spirit of God in us. No matter how different we are from each other, we should never forget that we have a common origin and a common end, and this basic commonality among ourselves is the basis of why at bottom we can have a universal unity among ourselves in spite of our differences and conflicts.
We have to be wary of our tendency to get too stuck to our distinctiveness, idiosyncracies, peculiarities, preferences, etc. Yes, we all have those, but we should never forget that those differences are meant for us to work out a way of complementation and supplementation, so that instead of being fragmented, we cement a stronger bond among ourselves.
We have to learn how to be adaptive and resilient without compromising what is truly essential that in the end is a matter of following the example of Christ who, instead of going into a rampage to correct the sins of men, chose to offer his life on the cross, and to conquer evil by resurrecting. Yes, like Christ we have to love even our enemies.
We have to learn how to be accepting of everyone and of everything as each one is, warts and all, without forgetting to do something to improve what needs to be improved, to correct what needs to be corrected with prudence and discretion. Yes, we have to learn how to flow with the tide without losing sight of the harbor we ought to reach.
In all this, we should not forget that a lot of sacrifice would be involved. If we have the spirit of Christ, we can handle that condition well, and can even find great meaning and sense of fulfillment in those sacrifices.
Truth and charity should go together. One cannot be without the other. That’s why St. Paul said: “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
“If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
“It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres…” (1 Cor 1-7)
Indeed, the real truth and charity have a universal character!