Saturday, January 28, 2006

Pick up the Pieces

Pick up the Pieces

“Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and gave them out to all who were sitting ready; he then did the same with the fish, giving out as much as was wanted.  When they had eaten enough he said to the disciples, ‘Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing get wasted.  So they picked them up, and filled 12 hampers with scraps left over from the meal of 5 barley loaves.”  (John 6:  11-14)

Christ feeding the 5000 with 5 barley loaves and a few fish tells us that our feeding can never be an impossible task for God.  Jesus himself taught us to ask Our Father everyday with confidence for our daily bread.  If we do what God requires of us, he has guaranteed to provide not only our daily bread but all our necessities. And what requires of us is to “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness ….Then ask and you shall receive.”  (Matthew 6: 33; 7:7)

Friday, January 27, 2006

The One Single Word

The One Single Word

“You study the scriptures, believing that in them you have eternal life; now these same scriptures testify to me, and yet you refuse to come to me for life.”  (John 5: 39)

We find Jesus Christ in the Scriptures.  In the Old Testament, we find him as types:  Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc.   In the New Testament, we find the Word who has become flesh, the true image of the Father.  John 5:39 encourages us to seek Jesus in the Scriptures.  “Ask and you shall receive.  Seek and you shall find.  Knock and the door will be opened for you.”  When we seek Jesus in the Scriptures, we find him and when we find him, we find life.

The Church teaches that “Through all the words of Sacred Scripture, God speaks only one single Word, his Utterance in whom he expresses himself completely:

You recall that one and the same Word of God extends throughout Scripture, that it is one and the same Utterance that resounds in the mouths of all the sacred writers, since he who was in the beginning God with God has no need of separate syllables, for he is not subject to time.”  (CCC #102)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Jesus as Light

Jesus as Light

“John was a lamp alight and shining and for a time you were content to enjoy the light that he gave.”  (John 5: 35)

Jesus Christ is the perpetual light of the world.  Jesus is the “light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”  (John 1: 4 – 5).  We find this light shining in the pages of the Gospel, in every word that Jesus has spoken.  We find in Christ, light to guide us in every situation.  And his guidance is unerring.

God as light is a dominant theme of Sacred Scripture.  First, we see that light is pleasant (Ecclesiastes 11:7).  Scripture then tells us that God himself is light (1 John 1:5).  The Lord is my light, my everlasting light (Psalm 27:1; Isaiah 60 19 20; Micah 7:8).  This light is Jesus Christ, the light of the world.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Bearing Witness

Bearing Witness

“You sent messengers to John, and he gave his testimony to the truth:  not that I depend on human testimony.”  (John 5: 33)

“Here are the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Isaac asked his father Abraham.  “My son, God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering,” replied Abraham. (Genesis 22: 7-8)  “Behold, the Lamb of God,” said John the Baptist as he pointed to Jesus. (John 1: 37)  God himself has fulfilled the prophecy of Abraham in providing his Son, Jesus as the sacrificial lamb.  John gave his testimony about the Lamb.  The testimony is true and reliable because it was inspired by God.  

Jesus tells us also in John 5: 33 to depend on the word of God as the only testimony to the truth.

John the Baptist paid the supreme price for bearing testimony to the truth.  “Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith:  it means bearing witness even unto death.  The martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by charity.  He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine.  He endures death through an act of fortitude.  “Let me become the food of the beasts, through whom it will be given me to reach God.” - St. Ignatius of Antioch (CCC #2473)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Jesus - Source of Eternal Life

Jesus – Source of Eternal Life

“For the Father, who is the source of life has made the Son the source of life, and because he is the Son of Man, has appointed him supreme judge.”  (John 5: 26 – 27)

Jesus Christ is the source of life.  The true life is the eternal life we have been promised, starting from here and now and then forever and forever.  If Christ is the source of life, how does he give us this life?  Jesus procured this life for all men through his passion and death.  He mediates this life to us through the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.  The Eucharist is the source of life par excellence.  When we receive the consecrated Bread and Wine, we receive truly Jesus, the source of life and life itself.  

Jesus is also the supreme judge of the world.  At the moment of our death, we will face Jesus.  “Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ,” teaches the Catechism of the Catholic Church (#1021). In the final judgment, he will judge all mankind.  But our judgment starts here and now.  If you are alive in Jesus, then you have here and now eternal life.  Do everything to maintain that life by dwelling in the Word and making use of the lavish gifts of the sacraments.

In the creed, we profess, “I believe in life everlasting.”  The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “Those who die in God’s grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live for ever with Christ.  They are like God for ever, for they ‘see him as he is,’ face to face.”  (CCC #1023)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Believe what you read

Believe what you read

“I tell you most solemnly, whoever listens to my words, and believes in the one who sent me, has eternal life; without being brought to judgment he has passed from death to life.”  (John 5: 24)

Jesus is saying that two things are required in order to start enjoying eternal life here and now.  First, we must listen to words of Jesus in the Gospel.  He added elsewhere that we must believe in these words, dwell in it and act on it.  When we do this, then we believe also in the Father who sent Jesus.

But what is eternal life?  It consists here and now in true knowledge of the Father and Jesus Christ.  True knowledge of the Father comes from the acceptance of what the Father has revealed about himself.  For example, “Yahweh, Yahweh, a God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in kindness and faithfulness.”  (Exodus 34: 6 – 7)  The Father wants his adopted children to know him as tender, loving, compassionate, faithful, kind and infinitely patient.  Belief in such a God already constitutes eternal life here and now.  Such a belief provides a powerful paradigm for daily and constant victories in life.

Belief comes from listening to the words of Jesus in the Gospels and in the Bible.

Lord Jesus, help us to believe what we read, to teach what we believe and to practice what we teach.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

He picked up his mat

He picked up his mat

“Do you want to be well again? ….’Get up, pick up your sleeping-mat and walk.’  The man was cured at once, and he picked up his mat and walked away.”  (John 5: 7 – 9)

Throughout this incidence, nothing was said of the man’s faith.  Jesus said to the man: “Get up, pick up your sleeping-mat and walk.”  The man did what Jesus told him.  “Do whatever he tells you.”  (John 2:4).  In John 4: 50 – 51), in the incident of the court official whose boy was healed, we see the two stages of faith:  1. The court official believed what Jesus said to him.  2.  He acted.  He left for home full of expectation.  In our scripture today, we see the two stages of faith compressed into one:  The lame man did what Jesus told him:  “He picked up his mat and walked away.”  There was no time for rationalizations.

Everyday, I enjoy promptings and inspirations from the Holy Spirit.  I act without considering the source.  Sometimes I recognize the source at the time and give thanks.  

Did Christ give the lame man faith before he healed him?  This is possible.  I had felt a strong faith at the beginning of many big projects I had undertaken.  

Lord Jesus, I take this opportunity to thank you for your numerous inspirations to me everyday.  Make me more sensitive to your many voices.  Grant me the gift of discernment of spirit.  Mary, mother, help me to always “do whatever he tell me.”