Saturday, June 16, 2007

Losing Jesus

Luke 2:41-51

"Each year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover,

and when he was twelve years old,

they went up according to festival custom.

After they had completed its days, as they were returning,

the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem,

but his parents did not know it.

Thinking that he was in the caravan,

they journeyed for a day

and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances,

but not finding him,

they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.

After three days they found him in the temple,

sitting in the midst of the teachers,

listening to them and asking them questions,

and all who heard him were astounded

at his understanding and his answers.

When his parents saw him,

they were astonished,

and his mother said to him,

"Son, why have you done this to us?

Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety."

And he said to them,

"Why were you looking for me?

Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?"

But they did not understand what he said to them.

He went down with them and came to Nazareth,

and was obedient to them;

and his mother kept all these things in her heart."

This is a story of Mary and Joseph losing Jesus. For the first time since he was born, he was out of their sight for perhaps over 24 hours. But they thought he was nearby in the "caravan." How many times we lose Jesus in our lives and do not even know it. We have the illusion that he is in us or nearby.

Although I try to start my life everyday in the presence of Jesus, I am frequently surprised that for extended periods of time, I lose Jesus without even knowing. I am astonished at this phenomenon because my spirituality is not just interior but incarnate. I surround myself with symbols and icons of our faith at home, in my car an even in my person. There are crosses, rosaries, holy pictures, bible quotations hanging everywhere in my home and some of these in my car. I wear the miraculous medal on my neck and always carry a rosary in my pocket. These icons of our faith are meant to remind of Jesus at all times. In fairness to my experience, sometimes they do remind me of the Lord. Sometimes glancing at one of them could trigger a prayer or a dialogue with Jesus. But the amazing thing is the number of times I go for hours without thinking of Jesus. Mary and Joseph's experience in today's Gospel teaches us two lessons:

  • It is possible even for a good Christian to lose Jesus for some time.
  • Know where to look for Jesus when you lose him; know where is your "Jerusalem."

For me, my "Jerusalem" is always the Church, the Blessed Sacrament, prayer and the word of God.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Scale of Justice

Deacon Ed:

 Thank you for your fine contribution on the murals on the inside wall of our church.  You said that the scale of justice tilts towards the cross.  I have never heard that before and it seems to me to an ideal pregnant with meaning.  What does it mean? 

Hi Obi

I would like to have the words of St. Thomas More himself on this, but I don't. As I understand it, it represents Thomas More's vision of justice tempered with God's mercy. He was a lawyer, but he emphatically regarded his service to his country within the context of his service to God and the Catholic Church. This, of course, cost him his head but gained him sainthood.

It is truly pregnant with the ideal of life-giving justice. This is the whole area of "social justice" in church teaching. We can peel the onion many, many times as we reflect on the implications of mercy and justice as taught by the Church. It is extremely practical and, for some, very challenging. I should probably say, for ALL, very challenging. The gospel challenges us all. Some persons and/or religious groups are more challenged than others. The whole issue of immigration in this country is awash with questions to which Thomas More's spirituality could speak volumes, if only we, as a nation, would read them.

Pax, Ed



Thursday, June 14, 2007

Systems failure

"Though the fig tree should not blossom, and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail, and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the field, and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exalt in the Lord, I will rejoice in God of my salvation. The Lord is my strength, he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, and makes me walk on my high places." (Habakkuk 3: 17 – 19)

If all support systems fail, I will still trust in the Lord.

What are the support systems?

  • Family
  • Health
  • Job
  • Money
  • Food
  • Tools

What are my support systems today?

  • Prayer
  • Word of God
  • Eucharist



Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Spiritual Warfare2

"But no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall show to be in the wrong. This [peace, righteousness, security, triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord [those in whom the ideal Servant of the Lord is reproduced]. This is the righteousness or vindication which they obtain from Me – this is that which I impart to them as their justification – says the Lord." (Isaiah 54: 17) Living Bible

Those whose lives proved the above scripture:

  • Jesus
  • Paul
  • Stephen
  • Ignatius

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Shining light

"Let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father." (Matthew 5: 16)

My light was very dim for about twenty years till 1995. What happened in 1995? What are the key experiences that made me what I am today? I confided the answer below to my diary ten years ago.

  • UAC 1194
  • Health 0495
  • HS 0695
  • Money 95
  • Food 95
  • Tools 95
  • Job 95
  • Family 96
  • Enterprise 96

I describe 1995 as the year of my Desert Experience. If it is true that we are the sum total of our experiences, then 1995 was the year where profound experiences in key areas of my life came together in a critical mass to shape once and for all my views of reality. All the above experiences represent experiences of dying to old forms, old ideas of reality and rising to the new life, new forms and new ideas.

From the death of UAC in 1994 arose Enterprise 1996. From health crisis in 0495 came health management system96. From the death of Money95 rose Joy of Simplicity96. The key experience of my life was however HS0695. Without this one experience, I could not comprehend the other experiences nor could I have been able to transmute them into positive assets.

Every day and every hour, I am becoming more and more ready to shine for Christ.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Obedience of faith

"It was by faith that Abraham obeyed the call to set out for a country that was the inheritance given to him and his descendants, and that he set out without knowing where he was going." (Hebrews 11:8)

Abraham obeyed God (Genesis 22: 18; 26: 5; Hebrews 11:8)

Noah did all that God commanded (Genesis 6: 22; 7:5)

Through one man's obedience many are made righteous (Romans 5: 19)

Christ was obedient to death (Philippians 2:8)

Though a son, he learned obedience by what he suffered (Hebrews 5: 8)


The obedience of faith (Romans 1:5; 16: 26)

Obedience to your confession of the gospel (2 Corinthians 9: 13)

Taking every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10: 5)

Obedience to Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1: 2)

The source of salvation to all who obey him (Hebrews 5: 9)

You were obedient to the teaching (Romans 6: 17)

The obedience of the gentiles (Romans 15: 18)

Even wind and wave obey him (Matthew 8: 27; Luke 8: 25)

Evil spirits obey Jesus (Mark 1: 27)

May God incline our hearts to keep the commandments (1 Kings 8: 58)


I have carried out the Lord's commands (1 Samuel 15: 13)

I have kept the ways of the Lord (2 Samuel 22: 22 – 3; Psalm 18: 21 – 22)

I have not departed from his commands (Jobs 23: 12)

I observe your testimonies (Psalm 119: 22)

David kept my commands (1 Kings 11: 34; 14: 8; 15: 5)

Hezekiah kept the commands (2 Kings 18: 6)


Sunday, June 10, 2007

God is my helper

"My help comes only from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth." (Psalm 121: 2)

God helping:

God helps you (Genesis 49: 25; 1 Chronicles 12: 18)

Eliezer, God was my help (Exodus 18: 4)

God is my helper (Psalm 54: 4)

The Lord is my helper (Hebrews 13: 6)

The Lord is your shield of help (Deuteronomy 33: 29)


He is their help and shield (Psalm 33: 20; 115:9, 10, 11)

A very present help in trouble (Psalm 46: 1)

Our help is in the name of the Lord (Psalm124: 8)

Ebenezer, this far has the Lord helped us ( 1 Samuel 7: 12)

The Lord helped David wherever he went (2 Samuel 8: 6; 1 Chronicles 18: 6, 13)


He has helped his servant Israel (Luke 1: 54)

You are the helper of the Orphan (Psalm 10: 14)

My help is from the Lord (Psalm 121: 2)

Your help made me great (2 Samuel 22: 36; Psalm 18: 35)

The Lord helped me (Psalm 118: 13)

With us is the Lord to help us (2 Chronicles 32: 8)


Christ is able to help those who are tempted (Hebrews 2: 18)

The Spirit helps us in our weakness (Romans 8: 26)

We have an advocate with the Father ( 1 John 2: 1)

If the Lord had not been my help (Psalm 94: 17)

The hand of the Lord was on them [to help] (Ezekiel 7: 6, 9, 28; 8: 18, 22, 31; Nehemiah 2: 8, 18)