Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Spring of Water Inside

The Spring of Water Inside

“Whoever drinks this water will get thirsty again; but anyone who drinks of the water that I shall give will never be thirsty again:  the water I shall give will turn into a spring inside him, welling up to eternal life.”  (John 4: 14)

What is this water that Jesus promises to give?  We know that water is very essential for life.  No life can exist without water.  Water quenches agonizing thirst and supports life.  Jesus Christ is speaking obviously of spiritual water.  But what is it?  What is it in spiritual life that is analogous to water?  What is it that without which spiritual life will be dead and impossible?  What is it that we should thirst for so much as we thirst for water?  What is it that refreshes and satisfies as water?  Jesus promises that the water he gives will quench thirst permanently.  The source of this water is inside, supplying as and when need.

This water is the Holy Spirit which Christ promised.  The promise was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost.  The first disciples of Jesus drank of this water and they remained refreshed and spiritually vital all their life.

“By this power of the Spirit, God’s children can bear much fruit.  He who has grafted us onto the true vine will make us bear ‘the fruit of the Spirit:  …. Love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.’  ‘We live by the Spirit’; the more we renounce ourselves, the more we ‘walk by the Spirit.”  (Catechism of the Catholic Church # 736)

Friday, January 13, 2006

Jesus - the Perfecter of our faith

Jesus – the Perfecter of our faith

“God gives him the Spirit without reserve.  The Father loves the Son and has entrusted everything to him.  Anyone who believes in the Son has eternal life, but anyone who refuses to believe in the Son will never see life: the anger of God stays on him.”  (John 3: 34 – 36)

Everything has been entrusted to Jesus by the Father:  our destiny, spiritual life, family, job, money, health, food and tools.  And key to appropriate these blessings is belief in Jesus.

What does belief in Jesus mean?  It means:
  • To know the heart of Jesus intimately.

  • To know his word and dwell on it since ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.  Ignorance of Christ is unbelief.

  • To love Jesus passionately, that is to love his person, his life style, his qualities and his Church.

  • To follow Jesus everywhere, that is, profound, total and massive commitment to serve him with all our soul, heart, mind and strength.

Belief in Jesus is demanding.  Full belief in Jesus is a journey and not a destination or series of events.  We come to it one step at a time.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that God gives us “the grace of believing in his Son Jesus, ‘the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.”  (CCC #147)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Believing in the Son

Believing in the Son

“Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life.”  (John 3: 16)

Jesus is the expression of God’s love for the world.  To the question, how do you know that God loves the world?  The simple answer is:  Jesus.  The presence of Jesus in our life is the conclusive evidence of God’s love for us.  That is, “for everyone who believes in him.”  

What does believe in Jesus mean?  It means we accept Jesus as the light of our life, the center and the explanation of our life.  To believe in Jesus also means that I agree freely to walk in this light.  The light is provided by the Gospel.  

To believe in Jesus progresses in time to knowing him intimately, loving him passionately and making the commitment to follow him everywhere.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Empowering Holy Spirit

The Empowering Holy Spirit

“I tell you most solemnly, unless a man is born through water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God:  what is born of the flesh is flesh; what is born of the Spirit is spirit.”  (John 3: 5-6)

Without the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, we cannot enter the kingdom of God.  The world and Satan would be too strong for us to overcome by our own means.  How do we get this presence and power?  In Baptism, we receive the Holy Spirit.  In the sacrament of Confirmation, “we receive the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost.”  (CCC #1302)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches further that “Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace:
  • it roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, ‘Abba! Father!’

  • it unites us more firmly to Christ;

  • it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us;

  • it renders our bond with the Church more perfect;

  • it gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by world and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross.”  (CCC #1303)

We need the Holy Spirit to succeed.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Filial Trust

Filial Trust

“Destroy this sanctuary, and in 3 days I will raise it up….  But he was speaking of the sanctuary that was his body, and when Jesus rose from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and the words he had said.”  (John 2: 19 – 22)

Jesus knew his future intimately.  He predicted what was going to happen to him.  Jesus was in control of his destiny.  He was providence himself.  Here he said that he would allow his body to be destroyed but in three days time, he would raise it up again.  It was after his resurrection that his disciples remembered this prediction and believed the scripture and the words of Jesus.  

In the Book of Isaiah, God challenged the false prophets thus:  Can they prove that they are gods by predicting the future and explaining the past?  Of course they could not.  They were objects made by human hands.  They have mouth but speak not.

Jesus knows us intimately.  He knows our past and our future.  He is our providence and our destiny is in his hands.  “Christ invites us to filial trust in the providence of our heavenly Father (Matthew 6: 26 – 34), and St. Peter the apostle repeats: ‘Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about “(1 Peter 5:7; cf. Ps 55:23) – CCC #322.

Monday, January 09, 2006

A Powerful Intercessor!

A Powerful Intercessor

“The mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’  Jesus said, ‘Woman, why turn to me?  My hour has not come yet.’  His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.”  (John 2: 4)

How much I love this scripture!  Son and mother found themselves together in the same wedding party.  And we see Mary display here all the graces that made her so beloved of people through out the centuries.  She was watchful and observant of what was happening around her.  She watched as the servants drew the wine to serve.  She observed the guests enjoy the food and the wine.  Then the wine ran out.  The servants looked at one another with embarrassment and looked for the master of ceremony.  At this point, Mary quietly intervened.  She approached Jesus who was surrounded by his friends.

How did Mary know what to do?  Had she observed Jesus perform a miracle in their home?  How did she come by this extraordinary confidence to believe that her Son will do her bidding?  Mary was inspired by the Holy Spirit to provoke the first miracle of Jesus.

There are many lessons here for us.  The most important is that this miracle at Cana was not only another epiphany for Jesus but also a revelation of God’s plan for Mary in the history of salvation.  A powerful intercessor!  More powerful than Moses because she enjoys the prerogatives of a mother.