This Sunday's Gospel starts with the story of the Samaritans stopping Jesus on the road to Jerusalem. Two disciples who were with Jesus suggested Jesus to bring fire from heaven to kill the Samaritans who stopped them. But, Jesus rebuked His disciples and went to another village, thus avoiding a quarrel with the Samaritans.
Lesson here is very evident that if some one is opposed to us, the answer is not to kill them; but to change our course and avoid a fight. Jesus very well knew that He had spiritual authority over the Samaritans too. But, Jesus did not try to enforce it; rather Jesus chose to leave them for the time being and wait for the appointed time.
Later we read in Acts 8 : 1 -40 that the Samaritans accepted the Word of God and many people in Samaria were baptized by Apostles Peter and John. Everything has an appointed time. Saul of Tarsus had his appointed time to revert from persecuting Christians to become the strongest pillar of Christianity.
Some one stopping us on the road or some one opposing our ideas or ideology does not mean that he is our permanent enemy. Our Church is going through a similar situation where a section of our own people stopping us from entering some of our Parish Churches. We are absolutely sure about our physical, spiritual and constitutional authority over these parishes. But, if today's Gospel reading is the one guiding our conscience; we are not supposed to establish our authority through muscle power, money power, political power or through court of law.
Court of "love" perhaps would be a more appropriate medium for dispute resolution than the court of law. Jesus had spiritual authority over the Jews and the Romans who crucified Him. It was possible for Jesus to kill them with fire; but instead Jesus loved them and prayed for them. Eventually, Rome become an important center of Christians and the Jews are looking forward to the Second coming of Jesus.
These are strong evidences right in front of our eyes to prove that sacrificial love is the only way to establish spiritual power. We believe in Jesus because Jesus loved the world so much that He sacrificed His life for us. " Love one another the same way I loved you" was the single commandment Jesus gave upon resurrection. Jesus' love towards the Samaritans prohibited Jesus from enforcing his spiritual authority over them.
The best way to gain the people who are opposed to us is to stop enforcing our authority or opinion or ideology on them. We always argue that we are fighting for our faith or freedom. That is the worst argument I have ever heard. We are not fighting for faith or throne or freedom; but we are fighting because deep inside of us we have envy and hatred towards one another. I always used to narrate the example of the British rule in India to prove this point.
The British did not come to India to rule us. They came to buy our tea and spices. But, when they came in, they saw the ongoing petty fights between the many princely states and they saw the enormous amounts of gold and diamond jewellery accumulated by the rulers. So, they thought it better to loot our wealth by taking advantage of these petty fights rather than trading in spices. So, they imported guns and tanks from Briton and defeated our army which was fighting with bow and arrows.
Therefore, this whole thing boils down to our envy and hatred. That is the cancer. We are hoping that once we win a certain court case or once we capture a certain Church or once we split and seperate there will be peace in our Church. It is simply a pipe dream. We had that situation even before where there was a clean and clear court verdict and our Bishops sat together, accepted each other, drank coffee and exchanged kiss of peace. Did it survive?? Absolutely not. Because that cancer called hatred still remained in us. The best chemo therapy for that cancer is " Love one another". When we treat this cancer with love, we will stop our this endless fight for positions. I wonder when I see some of our old aged monks who have their feet already in their grave play politics in Church matters. Are they not reading from the same Bible we all are reading from. Is the language in their Bible difficult to understand ??
"1 John 4:20 If someone says, "I love God," but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don't love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?"
"Matthew 12:26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand?"
Recently a non-Christian TV news reader asked a question to a Bishop about Christians fighting each other on the street quoting the above verse from the Bible. The Bishop conveniently side stepped that question and continued blaming his opposite side for all problems. Does this Bishop understands that each question like this from a non-Christian is yet another nail on the body of Christ. I wonder, what this Bishop or for that matter any other clergy who has put his hands to the plow on his own will think in his mind when he reads this Sunday's Gospel. Is it not time yet for our clergy to be a role model to the lay sinners ???