Friday, April 19, 2019
Jesus was tense, Jesus was anxious; Jesus was worried like any one of us might be. Because he knew what awaits Him, not because he can tell the future but because he has stood up for the truth no matter the consequences. And yet there was that anxiety. And the first thing Jesus did to get rid of the anxiety was, not to take a pill, but to go to pray - to pray to his Father. The prayer of Jesus in Gethsemane provides for us a lesson on prayer, and the first step was the attitude, the disposition. We are told that as soon as Jesus reached Gethsemane after telling his disciples to watch with him, he threw himself on the ground. The throwing himself on the ground conveys an attitude of total surrender to God. He wants God to take control; to take charge and to direct the events of his life. The words that he used were simple, direct, and are to the point. It was a prayer from the heart. “Father take this cup away from me”, and yet because the Father’s will was primary for Jesus, Jesus added “Not my will but Yours be done”. And this is the challenge of prayer. The prayer of Jesus was never unanswered, because the prayer of Jesus was always a prayer that lets the Father do His will. Is our prayer the prayer like that of Jesus or do we stop with give me, give me. Can we link and identify our prayer with the prayer of Jesus? Even though Jesus received no support from his companions because they were asleep, he got up strengthened in his prayer as was evident from the fact that he made no move to stop the fight in the garden, to respond to Judas, he only said “let the Scriptures be fulfilled”. In other words, let God’s will be done, and if it is the Father’s will that he dies, so be it. Are you submissive to the Father’ will? Shalom!
Thursday, April 18, 2019
In bending down to wash the feet of the disciples in Jn 13:1-13, Jesus brings together all that he was, all that he is, all that he does. With Jesus there was no dichotomy, there was no separation between his being and his doing. Jesus did who he was. Jesus said what he did. And so, on this Maundy Thursday we are called through this event of the washing of the feet, to ask ourselves some serious questions, and the first of these is “Is there a separation between my being and my doing? So, If Jesus was able to bring together his being and his doing, his word and his action, If Jesus was able to love unconditionally, expecting nothing in return, If Jesus was able to love, forgive, and accept and pardon even those who he knew would reject him, deny him, betray him. I need to ask myself whether I can do that myself? This is what Jesus is calling us to do before we enter, to reflect on his passion. If you can think, reflect, pray and know in your heart that you are capable of such love, then you can enter with the Lord into his passion. May you have a grace filled Tridium celebration. Shalom!
Friday, April 5, 2019
When we are broken hearted, we may simply feel forgotten and forsaken by God. This feeling can come into our hearts when we are downcast and in the midst of pain and suffering. During those times we hardly realize God’s Hands are working and touching our lonely hearts. This broken hearted kind of feeling can come to an elderly who is ready to go home to the Lord, yet God’s call has not come. In the meantime, he is patiently waiting in sickness and pain. It can also strike on someone whose troubles just keep multiplying due no fault of his own. And quite often it can strike all of us, when problems linger indefinitely with no possible resolution in sight. When we get the lost, forgotten and forsaken feeling, it’s time to remember what Jesus continue to tell us- that our Heavenly Father never forgets anyone and that not a single flower dies and not a single sparrow ever falls from the sky without God knowing it. God will never forget His people. He will never forsake us. He simply has a different timetable and His plan, quite different from ours. Today we should move with great confidence in our hearts that even if our lives are inundated by problems and trials, we do not have to bear them alone, for God is always by our side. Shalom!
Thursday, April 4, 2019
Jesus said to the Jews: “If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true. But there is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true.” John spoke the truth about “the one to come” Jn 5:31-33. He reminded his listeners that, “I am not worthy to untie his sandals,” and to “listen to him.” John stands between the people and Jesus, pointing to the one who gives life. According to John we are to believe Jesus’ words. It is not easy to believe in Jesus, because such a belief calls for a radical change in one’s life’s orientation. Belief in Jesus will mean a movement from selfishness to selfless, domination to service and fear to love and not many are inclined to make this change. Most of us are content to live our lives insulated from others and preferring to live as islands rather than as community. However, as the Gospel text makes clear there is no middle ground and if one is not willing to live the kind of life that Jesus invites us to as his disciples, then one is a non-believer. As Christians our task is to be advocate for Jesus like John. With our lives we stand between God and the world we live in and we testify! We point to the one who is merciful. We testify to the one who gives life. We point to Jesus who is God. Living in and for Christ is the best testimony we can ever have. Shalom!
Thursday, March 21, 2019
Why did the rich man go to hell? We are not told that he acquired his wealth by foul means. The reason we have difficulty pinpointing why the rich man went to hell may have a lot to do with how we think of sin. We often think that we sin only through thoughts, words, and deeds. We forget that a fourth and very important way we can sin is through our omissions. Yet we forget this last criterion, the sin of omission. The rich man of Lk 16:19-31, saw Lazarus hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked and sick–but he chose not to see him. He was spiritually blind and thus, he did not see. In not seeing, he did not act and in not acting, he omitted the compassion and sharing he should have given Lazarus. So the rich man is condemned for his sin of omission. Today the Lord challenges us to enter the world of the other and let the other to enter our world. That, in a sense, is what Jesus himself did. He entered our world and invites us to enter his world. We can do the same for each other. When we cross the threshold into the world of the other, into the world of those who are very different from us in all kinds of ways, we may discover that we not only have something to give the other but a great deal to receive as well. Shalom!
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Jesus asks James and John, “Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?” Matt 20:22. If they were prepared to share his cup, to throw in their lot with him, to follow where he leads, even though it may mean the cross. In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus prayed, “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me.” Yet, he went on to drink that cup to the full on the cross. At the last supper, he drank of the cup, and then gave the cup to his disciples, who also drank from it. Yet, a little later, they deserted him and fled. In spite of what they promised, James and John would not follow when the going got hard. We too are invited to drink from the Lord’s cup, the cup of the Eucharist. In doing so, we are expressing our willingness to go where he leads and walk in his way. Jesus teaches that way of self-giving service of others, as against lording it over them. We pray that in talking the Lord’s cup today, we would be faithful to what that action signifies—walking in the footsteps of the Son of Man who came not to be served but to serve. Shalom!
Mercy, forgiveness and love are in short supply today. Most relationships between people are built on what one can gain from the other and how the relationship will help one. It is rare to see (even in relationships between members of one family) selflessness and generosity. Yet, this is what Jesus calls the disciple to and expects that the disciple will live such a generous life. One way we can develop mercy and give it to our neighbor is to be able to know ourselves, face and accept our own sins and mistakes (self awareness). Being able to accept the shameful state of our lives, the truth behind us which God sees-all on our own, with no comparisons and no useless judgments- will only enable us to share God’s love and mercy with all men. This way, we begin to think and see like God as we look at one another. Shalom!