Saturday, April 15, 2006

The buried the Man

The buried the Man

“They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen clothes, following the Jewish burial custom. At the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in this garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been buried. Since it was the Jewish Day of Preparation and the tomb was near at hand, they laid Jesus there.” (John 19: 40-42)

The dead man, “wrapped with spices in linen cloths” is Jesus, the Son of God, my Savior and my Redeemer. O Lord Jesus Christ, why does your death and burial leave me cold? I simply do not feel any emotions. I just accept the cold facts. Lord, what are you saying to me in this incident? What are the lessons?

Jesus Christ truly died and was buried. But I have never doubted that he died. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus came to help with his burial. Jesus was buried in a new tomb. Even in death, the Father’s providence is still watching over his son.

Jesus died and was buried. “Some devout men buried Stephen.” (Acts 8:2) The death and burial of Jesus Christ was significant because it was the death and burial that changed forever the meaning of death and burial. Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus and others at the scene could not have known this at the time. But I do.

Friday, April 14, 2006

It is accomplished!

It is accomplished!

“It is accomplished;’ and bowing his head he gave up his spirit.” (John 19:30)

Jesus has accomplished his mission as Savior and Redeemer. "It is accomplished" is a statement that can be made at the end of a job not at the beginning or the middle. Jesus is conscious that he has done everything that is expected of him by his Father. His Father has a plan for his earthly life. The main points of this plan had been foretold by the prophets. High on the agenda is the cross. In obedience to his Father’s will, Jesus had followed this plan meticulously.

What does “It is accomplished” mean to me? It means that Jesus, as my Lord, Savior and Redeemer has done everything necessary for my salvation on Calvary. If he has done everything for me, what am I expected to do? I must believe in him and believe in his word, “It is accomplished.” Just as Jesus followed his Father’s plan for his life, I too will search for that plan for my life and follow it.

One thing is certain: Just as the Father had a plan for the earthly life of Jesus, so he has for my life. I believe that the plan for me is to know Jesus well and communicate him. The cross is embedded in every mission. Where is the cross in my mission? Wherever it is, I must embrace it. Since the basis of my success is to accept the salvation offered to me by Jesus on the cross, I am confident that his grace will be there to help me realize God’s plan for my life. Help me Jesus.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Evil Spirits

Evil Spirits

“What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth?  Have you come to destroy us?  I know who you are:  the Holy One of God.’  But Jesus said sharply, ‘Be quiet!  Come out of him!’  And the unclean spirit threw the man into convulsions and with a loud cry went out of him.”  (Mark 1: 23 – 26)

Evil spirits trouble people even in our advanced technological age.  To deny this fact is not to be modern and advanced but rather to be na├»ve.  To deny it is also to deny the relevance of a major part of Christ’s healing ministry.  The spirits that trouble human beings are varied and seem specialized in their roles.  

Not every deranged person is a victim of demonic possession.  But stubborn and persistent alcoholism, sex maniacs and similar conditions may well be caused by evil spirits.  Some modern psychologists seem to play down the existence and effects of evils spirits on people.  It is well to remember that psychology even in its most advanced form is still a speculative social science.  This is to say that it can change its principles and conclusions and in fact does change these frequently.  When it comes to matters of demonic possession, I rely on the trustworthy and constant teaching of the Church.

The good news about demonic possession is that Jesus had authority over them and cast them out.  The same power is still with Jesus Christ today and this power is exercised in the Church.  

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Call

The Call

“As he was walking along by the Sea of Galilee he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net in the lake – for they were fishermen.  And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you into fishers of men.’  And at once they left their nets and followed him.” (Mark 1: 16 – 18)

Notice how Simon and Andrew reacted to the call of Jesus.  They answered at once and followed him to become fishers of men.  Many are called to collaborate with Jesus closely in his work of building the kingdom of God.  It seems that few answer the call.  I imagine that fewer respond at once and with enthusiasm.  

The crisis of vocation in the Church is a mystery to me.  Why do few people want to respond to the call of Jesus to become fishers of men?  Why do people prefer to have temperamental, selfish bosses rather than Jesus who is the best boss?  Why should celibacy constitute an obstacle to answering the call of Christ to the priesthood when everybody knows that one out of every two marriages fail woefully, leaving behind them trails of unhappiness sometimes for life?  The psalmist prayed to God show him the shortness of life so that he can gain wisdom of heart.  Why is it that in considering the call of Jesus, we are blinded to the truth of the brevity of life?

Lord Jesus, you are God.  You know all things.  You know the answer to all these questions.  You are the good Shepherd who has promised to provide all that your Church needs.  May your divine mercy be upon your Church and grant us numerous good vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Temptation

The Temptation

“Immediately afterwards the Spirit drove him out into the wilderness and he remained there for 40 days, and was tempted by Satan!  He was with the wild beasts, and the angels looked after him.” (Mark 1: 12 – 13)

The above word of God came to me sharply during my desert experience ten years ago in 1996.  I penned the following reflection in my journal.

“After the baptism of Jesus, the Spirit drove him into the wilderness.  After my own baptism in the Spirit, 060195, the Spirit also drove me into the wilderness.  The temptation or trial of Jesus was a crucial event in his redemptive work.  My desert experience was a critical stage in my life’s pilgrimage.  

The Holy Spirit used the Temptation of Jesus to strengthen him and clarify his mission.  I discovered my true self and my life’s mission during my desert experience and my faith was strengthened.  

Jesus remained 40 days in the desert and was tempted by Satan.  My wilderness experience lasted for 12 months and I too was severely tempted by Satan.  During my stay in the desert, I cohabited with wild beasts, but like Jesus, angels looked after me.  These angels were the spiritual consolations I enjoyed through the sacraments, the word of God, prayer and encouragement by Christian brothers and sisters.

My desert experience prepared me for a life of companionship with Jesus.  Lord Jesus, thank you for your graces during my trial.”

One comment I would like to add as I reflect on the above journal entry, today in 2006 is that my desert experience lasted not for one year as I though in 1996 but for five years.  The first year was the most intense.  After the first year, the Lord relaxed the discipline gradually.  During the five years of my desert experience, the Lord gave me a Sabbatum, which is a sabbatical from work.   I was happy to study Sacred Scripture and spiritual works.

Monday, April 10, 2006

I too am the beloved

I too am the beloved

“It was at this time that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John.  No sooner had he come up out of the water than he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit, like a dove, descending on him.  And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favor rests on you.”  (Mark 1: 9 – 11)

Jesus was baptized by John at the very beginning of his ministry.  Although, he was the Son of God and sinless, he underwent the act of purification and reconciliation ordained by God.  This incident calls to mind other occasions when Jesus showed himself compliant to God’s will.  At the age of 12, he showed obedience to his parents when he left his Father’s house and traveled home with them. (Luke 2: 51)   We learn from the Gospels that he showed up regularly in the synagogue on the Sabbath.

But his humility in accepting baptism is striking.  Although he is God, he did not claim equality with God.  After his baptism, the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus and God acknowledged his sonship.  

The lesson for me is clear.  I am also baptized and have received the Holy Spirit.  I am the adopted son of God.  And by virtue of the redemptive work of Jesus, God the Father can say of me:  “Emmanuel is my beloved; my favor rests on him.”  How incredible but also how true!  Father, I thank you for this revelation today.  I will particularly remember my divine filiation this day.  I am the beloved son of the Father.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Writing and Publishing

Writing and Publishing

“As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.  Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God; whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies, so that in all things God may be gloried through Jesus Christ, to whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever.  Amen.”
(1Peter 4: 10 – 11)

What are my natural talents, my natural gifts from our loving Father?  Each human being is given a gift by God at the moment of his creation.  The gift is for the service of God and one another.  What are my own gifts?  What do I like to do?  Where do I feel at home?

When I tried to grapple with these questions in 1996, I wrote the following:
“I feel very much at home in the Church and in the library.  Today, I feel strongly that my mission, my purpose in life is to learn and to communicate.  I feel a deep desire within me to learn the truth and to communicate same.  I know that the truth for me is no longer an idea but a person.  That person is Jesus Christ, the alpha and omega.  In order to accomplish my life purpose, I feel deep attraction to two kin institutions:  the Church and the library.  Both are sources of knowledge that leads to the truth.  I feel also a desire to write and to publish.  Publishing can mean promoting an idea, proclaiming the truth via a specific medium.  My special medium as I see it today is the written word.

If my mission in life is to learn and then communicate via writing and publishing, then help me God.  If this enterprise is from you, then it is accomplished. (Acts 5:38)  My good Shepherd promises to provide everything I need to full my life’s purpose. (Psalm 23)”

I have had the desire to write and publish since I was about 12.   In 1996, when I started using the Internet, it was a text based medium in black and white.  Then it was mainly used to read news and had limited email application.  In 2006, it has developed into a full blown powerful medium.  I could never have imagined that this medium that had mustard seed character was to grow to become a huge tree.  Many and varied birds are dwelling on its braches.  I want to attach myself to a strong branch in this web.