Saturday, July 21, 2007

Precious Ointment

"You have the poor with you always, you will not always have me" (John 12:8.)

Jesus accepted an act of kindness from Mary. She did not count the cost of the ointment. It was very expensive. Mary thought that her Love and Master deserved it. Jesus showed His appreciation by praising her act.

We are called to a life of friendship and companionship with Jesus. How do we show our generosity to Jesus? The first thing in friendship is to provide enough time to nourish the relationship. Mary followed Jesus everywhere. In offering her twenty-four hours to Jesus, she offered her soul, heart, will and everything.

Our love for Jesus must be all-encompassing like Mary's. Often we allow our love for God to remain on the level of intentions. Good intentions on themselves are a good start but for the intentions to become reality, we need the grace of God. The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness and gives us a generous heart to fulfill our good intentions. Christ is passing by us everyday. What we cannot do for him here and now may be a lost opportunity.

See: Navarre Bible: St John

Friday, July 20, 2007

"Let him go free"

"Unbind him, let him go free" (John 11:44)

The raising to life of Lazarus presents us with a number of lessons:

1. "This sickness will not end in death but in God's glory and through it the Son of God will be glorified" (John 11:4). Our adversities are opportunities for the glory of God. If we are patient to the end, our tests will become testimonies.

2. "I am the resurrection. If anyone believes in me, even though he dies, he will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die" (John 11:26). Christ in raising Lazarus from the dead, proves that He has the power over life and death. This miracle also teaches that Jesus can raise any person to spiritual life no matter the degree of our deadness to sin.

3. "Have I not told you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?" (John 11:40) Believe unleashes miracles. Jesus also promises that if we believe we can do greater things than He did.

"Unbind him, let him go free" (John 11:44). Ignorance, disease and death all represent forms of loss of freedom. The Truth that is Jesus unbinds us from spiritual death.

See: Navarre Bible: St John

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Abundant Life

"I have come that they may have life and have it to the full" (John 10:10)

We all desire to live abundantly, to achieve our potentials in life. The aim of education is to develop our talents to live to the full. Christ promises that He came that we may have abundant life. Experience shows us that this present life does not satisfy all our needs and does not last forever. Jesus must mean some other form of life in his promise of abundant life. He is talking of spiritual life, eternal life. A life that begins here and continues forever. Jesus achieved this life for us through His teaching, death and resurrection.

In another passage, Jesus says: "And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent" [John 17:3.4]. What then is eternal life? Why do we need it? Who gives eternal life and how is it obtained? When and where is eternal life given?

Man, created in the image and likeness of God has a spiritual nature. Eternal life is the life of the spirit that enables man to live as a son of God. Jesus Christ gives the life through His word and the Eucharist, that is, the gift of His Body and Blood. To obtain this life, we ask for it in faith and Jesus gives us through His Holy Spirit. If man lives to the full when he lives spiritually, it means that people without God cannot live to the full. To live to the full we need Jesus.

See: Navarre Bible: St John

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


"Do you believe in the Son of man?" (John 9:36)

When Jesus asked this question to the man who had been born blind, the blind man responded in the affirmative because he understood the question. If Jesus asks you: What does belief in the Son of man mean to you? Would your answers include: Jesus is my Lord and God, my Savior and Redeemer, my King and Boss, my Friend and Companion?

Jesus' intervention in the life of the blind man gave him back his sight and gave him faith as well. In a literal sense, he experienced Jesus as his savior and redeemer. Has Jesus made any interventions in your life that touched your faith?

Some years ago, while working in Paris, I had a work-related problem that needed a miracle. I prayed and prayed and was given this scripture: "Do not be afraid! Stand firm, and you will see what Yahweh will do to rescue you today: The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. Yahweh will do the fighting for you; all you need to do is to keep calm" (Exodus 14: 13-14). I clung to this scripture as a drowning man clings to any object. God turned around my situation and produced a miracle that made many people praise Him. This event uplifted my faith enormously. Jesus rescued me from a certain career disaster. He was indeed my Savior and Redeemer.

The blind man's adversity has brought him something greater than physical vision. He now had a Lord and God who is his personal Savior and Redeemer. God intervenes in our life to save us from sin and evil in order to strengthen our faith.

"Do you believe in the Son of man?" (John 9:36) Yes, Lord. Strengthen my faith

See: Navarre Bible: St John

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sin and Slavery

"I tell you most solemnly, everyone who commits sin is a slave....So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:34, 36)

Sin is slavery to passion: food, drink, sex, money, etc. The law of compulsion is at work whenever sin is committed. Compulsion or impulsiveness is the opposite of freedom. If the sin is alcohol, it acts like this: 'Look, I am here. Come and drink your fill.' Or if it id money,: 'I am here. Use me now to fulfill yourself.’ The person concerned cannot say no because of lack of freedom.

Jesus came to set us free from this compulsion and impulsion to act sinfully. When sin as alcohol says to us: 'Come and drink me.' We can respond: 'Christ said: ‘Man does not live by drink alone. There is life for him in every word that comes from the mouth of God." For every temptation, Jesus has given us a script for it. As good actors, we should be aware of these scripts and use them appropriately. Jesus gives us genuine freedom through His word. His word exposes the lies and errors of temptations such as alcohol, food, sex or money. When we are tempted to turn "these stones into bread”, we know how to respond.

Lord Jesus, make us truly free.

See: Navarre Bible: St John

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Word makes Disciples

"If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples, you will learn the truth and the truth will make you free" (John 8:31)

One of the most popular sayings in the Bible is: "The truth shall make you free." I knew of this quotation before I came to read the Bible. We all love freedom. Today more than ever, there are so many things that enslave us: Money, sex, television, alcohol, drugs, food, tobacco, pornography, cars, gadgets and so on. A number of businesses has grown promising to liberate us from our dependencies and addictions.

Jesus promises that knowing His word will lead to knowledge of the truth. Truth comes as light to chase away the error or darkness that causes sin, ignorance and death. Truth frees us from fear: Fears of ill-health, lack of money, opinion of people; fears of no job and its consequences. These subtle fears drive us to addictions.

How many people are genuinely free today? "Those who rush to other gods bring many troubles on themselves" (Psalm 16:4). These tin gods: money, alcohol, sex, food, etc exploit our weaknesses, enslave us and bring so much unhappiness to our lives. How can we be free? Feeding the mind with the words of Jesus Christ will make us free. "If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples, you will learn the truth and the truth will make you free" (John 8:31)

See: Navarre Bible: St John

Sunday, July 15, 2007

There is time for everything

"The right time for me has not come yet, but any time is the right time for you." (John 7:6)

When the brothers of Jesus urged Him to manifest Himself openly in Judaea, Jesus told them that the time is not right for such a show. Have you ever been under pressure to act? Subtle pressures to act 'now'; 'to show myself to the world' have troubled me in the past.

When you need to make a critical move in your life, success depends on timing. How do we recognize the right time? The Master is teaching us in John 7:6 that there is time for everything. To succeed, we must align ourselves to God's will and time-table. But how do we find out God's time on any issue?

Christ never took any major step in His life without prayer. He spent the night in prayer before He chose His the twelve apostles. Seeking God's will implies readiness to wait for it. "Faith that is firm is also patient." (Isaiah 28:16). When we wait for God's light and guidance after prayer, He never fails to manifest it. He does this through various means. Once we receive this guidance, then, "Do whatever he tells you." We can then act in confidence, certain that this is God's right time for us.

See: Navarre Bible: St John