Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Familiarity breeds contempt

“John answered their questions by saying, “I baptize with water; but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am – so much greater that I am not even worthy to be his slave. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” (Luke 3: 16)
John the Baptizer who was praised by Jesus as the greatest man born of woman says here: Jesus is “so much greater that I am not even worthy to be his slave.” If John is not worthy to be the slave of Jesus, how about us? When I watch how people behave inside the Church where we believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Tabernacle, I wonder if the behavior is caused by lack of faith or by too much familiarity with Jesus, the type of familiarity that breeds contempt.
Lord, give us a deep awareness of your presence in the Blessed Sacrament and in the Eucharist and a corresponding reverence for Your Majesty.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lenten Temptation

"1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 He fasted for forty days and forty nights, 2 and afterwards he was hungry. 3 The tempter approached and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread." 4 He said in reply, "It is written: 'One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.'" 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, and made him stand on the parapet of the temple, 6 and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: 'He will command his angels concerning you and 'with their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.'" 7 Jesus answered him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.'" 8 Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence, 9 and he said to him, "All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me." 10 At this, Jesus said to him, "Get away, Satan! It is written: 'The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.'" 11 Then the devil left him and, behold, angels came and ministered to him."
A few weeks ago, I prayed to the Father: "Grant me financial security and stability." I was unsatisfied with the frequent ups and downs in my financial fortune. The prayer was provoked by the financial charge I pay on my bank credit card, which I use as working capital. My debt hovers around $1000 every billing cycle. It bothers me. Work as hard as I can, I cannot reduce it or eliminate it. So I bargained with the Father. If you wipe out this debt and grant me financial prosperity and stability, I would invest the saved financial charge in your work. I believe that the Father heard my prayer. It has now been weeks since I made that prayer and repeated it from time to time. Nothing has happened but I feel peaceful about my finances.
The theme of today’s Sunday Mass is based on the both the first reading on the fall of Adam and Eve in Genesis and the Temptation of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. The question to me arising from the readings and the sermon is point blank: What is your temptation in Lent 2011? I realized that in asking God for financial prosperity and stability, I was asking the Father to provide me with ffinancial security. From here, it was easy to see that my temptation is to be financially secure. It was a rude awakening. The devil tempted Jesus in the desert at a point of his weakness. “Have something to eat lest you die of hunger.” Very hungry as Jesus was, He rejected the Easy Way and chose to trust His Father’s Way.
As I reflected on this light, I asked myself: "Is Jesus no longer my security?" If Jesus is already my security, why do I have to badger the Father to grant me financial security. Is the devil tempting me to seek for security in a way other than how He, the Father has chosen to provide it to me? I cautioned myself. Watch out!