Friday, February 15, 2019
“And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him.” Mk 7:32. Those people who brought the deaf man to Jesus probably felt that there was not much they could do for their friend. Most probably that was the very reason why they begged Jesus to lay His healing hands upon their friend. Some of his friends might have hoped for total healing while others may have hoped only for a little improvement to his condition. Some friends may have hoped that even with such condition Jesus could at least give the deaf man some peace in his heart. Today, we may have a lot of friends and family who may need physical and spiritual healing. Our hearts are so concerned for them but there comes a point when there is there is not much that we can do. In reality after we have persevered in praying with them and walked with them hand in hand, all we can do to bring them healing and wholeness, is simply to surrender them to the Lord in prayer. Shalom!
Thursday, February 14, 2019
I’ve always enjoyed the story in Mark 7:24-30, because of the Greek woman’s response to Jesus in the face of an impossibility. She’s a sign of hope for all of us when we’re up against a wall and there seems to be no door through it. Her persistence and her confidence in Jesus, who was known to be a barrier-breaker, were traits that we should copy. At first, Jesus seemed to be saying “no” to the woman’s prayer request, but the woman persisted. Think about the barriers that you seem to be up against. When it seems like our prayers are hitting a hard wall. Is Jesus really saying no? Sometimes he does, but only for our protection, because it would be harmful for us to proceed ahead with our plans. We need to be like the Greek woman who found a clever way around her obstacle. No prayer bounces off a brick wall forever. Find a new angle and keep hitting that wall with more prayers. And when you get tired, take a rest in the Father’s lap. You will reach the breakthrough you need. I guarantee it. I speak from experience. Shalom!
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Godliness and righteousness are not matter of externals, but they flow from the goodness of one’s heart. To be acceptable to God is not a matter of compliance to rituals but one that involves cleansing of our inside-our hearts and minds from what is not of the Lord. Jealousy, envy, hatred and pride are among the few that we as Christians should be able to decide to cleanse from our inner being. They mislead us and deceive us with foolish suspicions that we effectively mistrust everyone. We become paranoid that people are ganging up on us and our subsequent reaction is to attack with unfair accusations which are not only unsound but uncharitable and certainly not characteristic of a follower of Christ. They cause us to sin and to spill out impurity…impure thoughts and deeds that are fit only for those who have decided to affiliate themselves with the Enemy. Today let us ask ourselves who invited jealousy, envy, hatred and pride and unforgiveness into our hearts. No one but our sinful nature! This is the reason why change should sincerely start from within us. Shalom!
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
In Mark 7:1-13, the Pharisees and the Scribes see that the disciples of Jesus eat with unwashed hands, and so ask Jesus a question concerning what they consider as defilement. In his response to them, Jesus takes the discussion to a higher plane, by focussing not merely on what defiles or does not defile a person, but on true worship, which stems from the heart. To illustrate his point, Jesus gives the example of Corban, in which the Pharisees’ would dedicate, something to God, and so not allow anyone else including their parents to use it, but would use it themselves. In case others wanted to use it, their answer would be that they could not allow them to do so since it was dedicated to God (Corban)and so belonged to God alone. There are times when we find way and means to get out of fulfilling our obligations to others. We come up with flimsy excuses when we cannot keep a commitment, and try to absolve ourselves of our responsibility. At these times we too can be accused of lip service. Shalom!
Saturday, February 9, 2019
In never ending love and compassion which we all experience in Jesus’ ministry as portrayed by Mark 6:30-34, Jesus discloses the need for every Christian worker to go on a retreat-a time to rest in the Lord, a special time to meditate on His works, His grace and goodness, time to receive His word and will in our daily lives. He modeled to us that spiritual energy and strength can be with us in special times of prayer to the Father, in times of solitude when we communicate to Him and bring up to Him our frailties and what impede us from doing our work for Him. Going on a retreat means, going closer to God and the more we draw near God, the more we learn about Him, the more we have of Him and the more we are able to serve Him; the more we will see Him do incredible things and the more we will crave to be involved in His work. Being alone with God renews us, nourishes, energizes and prepares us to do more work for Him. Shalom!
Basically, the root of every fear is the assumption that we are not loved, not really-really loved. We’re afraid of being open and honest with others because they might take advantage of it to hurt us. Heb 13:1-8, describes the various ways that we act in love, and then it points out that by relying on the help of God who is love, we have nothing to fear. Overcoming fear takes faith. It takes faith to “let brotherly love continue” when the brother is irritating us and we’re afraid of getting hurt again. It takes faith to “not neglect hospitality” when we’re tired of unpleasant people and we’re afraid of what our kindnesses might lead to. When we do everything “in love”, we do it in Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He will not abandon us in our needs. The risks we take for the sake of love keep us safely in God’s protective care and helpfulness. Our loving deeds won’t always produce the results that we’d like to see, and we surely will get hurt when we courageously love everyone unconditionally, but this is not what matters — not really. What matters is that God works everything out for good. If what we’re afraid might happen does indeed happen, he will turn it into a blessing. That is the generosity of his love for us. Shalom!
Thursday, February 7, 2019
In Mk 6:7-13, Jesus, after a night in prayer, selected twelve of his followers for a special mission of intimacy with himself. He gave three reasons for this mission: 1) to be with him; 2)to go out and preach the good news; and 3)to have authority to cast out demons and to heal. Then Jesus sends them out two by two and gives them authority over unclean spirits. Therefore, all their power and authority came from him and the twelve travels light. As Jesus’ ambassadors, they preached repentance. All this they did in union with Jesus and by his power because “they were with him.” Likewise, our efficacy as his disciple depends on our union with Jesus –being with him – and that requires prayer, penance and recollection. We have all been called like the Twelve to serve God in faith, hope and charity. But we should all be aware of our great dignity because we have been called to be children of God and heirs of heaven. This call should not make us proud, but very humble, because it is all God’s work, not ours. It is a gift. God is being and life, while we are nothingness and death without him. How authentic am I in following the Lord as a Christian? Shalom!