The Hardest Lesson For A Christian

Sacred Scripture

An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest. Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.” Then John said in reply, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow in our company.” Jesus said to him, “Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”( Luke 9: 46-50)

Reflection

Just think about something every follower of Christ knows.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, took on a lowly nature so that he could raise us up. Or as Matthew wrote: He came not to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:28). Hold that thought.

While the disciples quibbled about their importance, Jesus takes a child in His arms and offers the child as a model of greatness. It is interesting that the greatness is to be seen in the child rather than in the one who receives it.

In Jesus’ eyes, such little people are truly great because, to those who have eyes to see, they are the ones in whom we can especially meet Jesus and love and serve him. Little children are those innocent people who are ready to be taught. They will sit patiently beside you and attentively listen to what you have to say. Jesus wants us to behave likewise towards Him and His teachings.

Little children do not have preconceived opinions about something. They have no prejudice or bias towards a subject. They see something for what it is as opposed to how, in their opinion, it should be like. That is how Jesus tells us to accept Him, His teachings and His Kingdom as He teaches.

The blessing of little ones is that they naturally are humble.

Humility. A very elusive gift then and now. The appetite for glory and greatness seems to be inbred in us.  Who doesn’t cherish the ambition to be “somebody” whom others admire rather than a “nobody”? For most, greatness is defined by recognition, power and influence, prominence. But that type of “greatness “is passing and temporary; the time will come that it passes and we shall be forgotten.

True greatness only accrues to those who are humble and lowly of heart — who instead of asserting their rights willingly empty themselves of pride and self-seeking glory, who believes in being a servant to another.

Jesus Christ personified true greatness. His humility, His self-sacrifice and His refusal to wield power for His own self-interest. That is the standard by which our lives and others need to be measured. Be especially wary of those who wrap themselves in the cloak of power and self-interest.

Christ desires His followers to aim at honor and greatness by means of a quiet and condescending humility. He wants us and his disciples to not grasp for first place, but to be servants to one another. Jesus calls us to “become like the child” In complete humility to be open to learn what God is telling us.

Humility . . . Total dependence . . . Complete honesty . . . No cover-ups . . . No games . . . No pride . . . No conditions . . . No deals. . . True concern for others

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus Christ, we would like to become childlike so that we can enter Your Kingdom. Purify our hearts, thoughts and actions to become like those of little children and thus become the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” 

Daily Note

The humility of little children is always very overwhelming. They serve everybody regardless of their race, tribe, religion, social status etc. They do not discriminate against anybody. They are true blessings and models for us.

The Hardest Lesson Of A Christian

Daily Reflection – 9/26/2022

Sacred Scripture

An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest. Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.” Then John said in reply, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow in our company.” Jesus said to him, “Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”( Luke 9: 46-50)

Reflection

Just think about something every follower of Christ knows.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, took on a lowly nature so that he could raise us up. Or as Matthew wrote: He came not to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:28). Hold that thought.

While the disciples quibbled about their importance, Jesus takes a child in His arms and offers the child as a model of greatness. It is interesting that the greatness is to be seen in the child rather than in the one who receives it.

In Jesus’ eyes, such little people are truly great because, to those who have eyes to see, they are the ones in whom we can especially meet Jesus and love and serve him. Little children are those innocent people who are ready to be taught. They will sit patiently beside you and attentively listen to what you have to say. Jesus wants us to behave likewise towards Him and His teachings.

Little children do not have preconceived opinions about something. They have no prejudice or bias towards a subject. They see something for what it is as opposed to how, in their opinion, it should be like. That is how Jesus tells us to accept Him, His teachings and His Kingdom as He teaches.

The blessing of little ones is that they naturally are humble.

Humility. A very elusive gift then and now. The appetite for glory and greatness seems to be inbred in us.  Who doesn’t cherish the ambition to be “somebody” whom others admire rather than a “nobody”? For most, greatness is defined by recognition, power and influence, prominence. But that type of “greatness “is passing and temporary; the time will come that it passes and we shall be forgotten.

True greatness only accrues to those who are humble and lowly of heart — who instead of asserting their rights willingly empty themselves of pride and self-seeking glory, who believes in being a servant to another.

Jesus Christ personified true greatness. His humility, His self-sacrifice and His refusal to wield power for His own self-interest. That is the standard by which our lives and others need to be measured. Be especially wary of those who wrap themselves in the cloak of power and self-interest.

Christ desires His followers to aim at honor and greatness by means of a quiet and condescending humility. He wants us and his disciples to not grasp for first place, but to be servants to one another. Jesus calls us to “become like the child” In complete humility to be open to learn what God is telling us.

Humility . . . Total dependence . . . Complete honesty . . . No cover-ups . . . No games . . . No pride . . . No conditions . . . No deals. . . True concern for others

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus Christ, we would like to become childlike so that we can enter Your Kingdom. Purify our hearts, thoughts and actions to become like those of little children and thus become the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” 

Daily Note

The humility of little children is always very overwhelming. They serve everybody regardless of their race, tribe, religion, social status etc. They do not discriminate against anybody. They are true blessings and models for us.

Ever Thought About Whether You Might Be Carrying the Wrong Cross?

Daily Reflection – 9/23/2022

Sacred Scripture

Once when Jesus was praying in solitude, and the disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They said in reply, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’” Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said in reply, “The Messiah of God.” He rebuked them and directed them not to tell this to anyone. He said, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.( Luke 9:18-22)

Reflection

At airports, at doctor’s offices, when cashing a check—so often we are asked to produce our ID. We routinely present our driver’s license or some other form of identification without a second thought. There it is: a card that says who you are.

But you also know that your identity doesn’t really exist on a card. Your identity exists in the web of relationships that defines you and sustains you: your parents, your siblings,

your close friends, and your children. All of them have helped shape you in ways that no single card could ever contain!

Peter and the others have been following Jesus for some time now, and he has made an indelible mark on them. He has reshaped them to the point that they are committed to following him even to his death.

Just as it did for the first disciples, your answer will come from the kind of relationship you have with him. For example, if you say, “Jesus, you are Lord and Savior,” then you’ll do whatever he asks of you. If you say, “You are the way, the truth, and the life,” then you’ll be willing to follow him, even in dark times. If you say, “You are my friend,” then you will trust him in every situation.

What is the essence of following such a Messiah? To be willing to act like him. To be willing to suffer and die for the Gospel, so God can raise the person up on the last day. To be willing to become Christ-like and reject self-centered interests.

The daily cross should not be confused with daily troubles in life. The daily cross was the day by day commitment a Christian made to Jesus Christ. The daily cross was not suffering quietly through each day alone. The daily cross was to be like Simon the Cyrene, to help Christ and those in his Body carry the cross that leads to glory.

As you reflect on all of this, remember that when Jesus asks the question, he is also issuing you an invitation: Stay close to me. Immerse yourself in my love. Listen to my Word and bring it to life in the words and actions of your day.

 At the end of the day, review it with one question: where was I Christ-like today? Looking at tomorrow, ask yourself: Where are the opportunities to bring Christ’s love to another?

 Do these things and Your identity will continue to change, and you’ll become more and more faithful to him who died so that you may live.

Prayer of The Day

“Jesus, you are the Christ! Help me to find my true self in your love!”

Daily Note

To own Jesus as Messiah and Lord is at the very heart of Christianity. And that’s why Jesus zeroes in on this question with His disciples Two millennia later, we are asked the same question every day: “Do I really believe that Jesus is the Messiah?” Well, is He the hinge on which your whole life turns? Is your personal relationship with Him the decisive thing in your life? If so, then you do believe.

Learn To Talk With Him. Learn To Be With Him. Learn The Peace of Allowing Him To Carry Your Burdens.

Daily Reflection – 9/22/2022

Sacred Scripture

Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying, “John has been raised from the dead”; others were saying, “Elijah has appeared”; still others, “One of the ancient prophets has arisen.” But Herod said, “John I beheaded. Who then is this about whom I hear such things?” And he kept trying to see him. (Luke 9:7-9)

Reflection

Herod sought to meet Jesus more out of curiosity and fear than out of a sincere desire to know God’s will. He wanted to meet Jesus – not to follow him but to prevent him from troubling his conscience any further.
Our conscience is a constant in our lives. When it gnaws at our awareness, we may try to wish it away or we can try to rid ourselves of guilt and sin by suppressing the truth or by ridding ourselves of anyone or anything that points us to the truth. No power on earth, however, can remove a guilty conscience or free us from slavery to sin.

And that thought brings us to this reflection.

Whose voice and message do you follow? Does God’s word take priority in your daily life? Or do you allow other voices and messages to distract you or lead you astray?  If it’s the latter then what should you or I do when our conscience intrudes on our life style and reminds us that it is not in keeping with His way?

How can we find true peace with ourselves and with God? The Lord Jesus shows us the way. Jesus explained to his followers, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32). Only Jesus can set us free. If we listen to his voice and obey his word, we will find true peace, joy, and freedom to live as sons and daughters of God.

If we seek that path, if we walk that path, then we can be brought to the second message . . . living our lives as an example of a follower of Christ. Is that important to anyone other than God? Yes. It is and decidedly so.  Christians when we come in contact with the people whom we meet day in and day out. Our very lives can challenge the people with whom we come into contact day in and day out; not by preaching or lecturing but rather by the silent example of living His light on earth.

Very often, we do not realize how our example can influence or challenge the lives of others especially when our lives prick the conscience of those with whom we come in contact. It is not that you go out of your way to prick their conscience but by living your life according to the values of the Gospel, you can be doing that to some people and help them gradually to change for the better.
Are you just acting as a Christian or are you really living your life as a Christian? The Gospel reading today challenges us to make the values of the Gospel part of our life so that we will not seem just to be acting like a Christian in our daily lives but really living it.

Prayer of The Day

 “Heavenly Father, form in me the likeness of your Son and deepen his life within me that I may be like him in word and deed.  Increase my eagerness to do your will and help me to know the saving power of your love.”

Daily Note

I think Herod has been included as an anti-type.  He’s exactly who we’re not supposed to be.  He’s included so that we can be on our guard and sincerely ask ourselves “am I surrounding myself with poor or with reliable sources of information? Or, as far as it concerns Jesus, have I been surrounding myself with people who tell me what I want to hear about Him?  Do I really seek the truth about Jesus? Do I ‘kill’ His prophets when they call me to repentance and call me to prepare my heart for Him?  Or instead, do I prepare my heart and do I receive His emissaries with joy?”

Have You Claimed The Christ Within?

Daily Reflection – 9/21/2022

Sacred Scripture

He summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there. And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.” Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere. (Luke 9:1-6)

Reflection

Here are the 12 apostles in the second year of their apprenticeship with the greatest teacher of all. They know who He is because they have watched him perform miracles, seen people flock to His side and listened as His words transformed them and those around them.

But now comes the “double gulp.”

Jesus gathers them around and tells them they have all the power and the authority needed to perform good works (including miracles) in His name. And lest their selves become inflated with their authority, he teaches them about humility and about rejection.

He sent them in a manner that would require them to trust Him daily . . .  “take nothing for your journey” He asked them to do this task that was impossible by human means, taking nothing that would normally be thought necessary.

Trusting God to provide is fundamental to discipleship and mission. That’s hard. It’s easier for us to say: “Those were relatively primitive times. These days – with homes and mortgages and careers and commitments and a worldwide pandemic– you can’t live like that.”

Well, we can.

The Twelve had to leave behind everything essential to their lives. Letting everything go was as challenging for them as it would be for us.The Lord wants his disciples to be dependent on him and not on themselves. Poverty of spirit frees us from greed and preoccupation with possessions and makes ample room for God’s provision He wills to work in and through each of us for his glory.

One of the greatest lessons we must learn and truly believe is the Christ in each of us. He is there. He is our daily companion. He asks only to be called upon so that his presence can be felt and acknowledged.

Think of that for a moment, The Christ within us. Each of us is blessed with his presence. If we could just grasp that each day and use that to guide us and comfort us every day, we would be free of attachments to anything but Jesus.

Shaking the dust from our feet is a way of saying that we ought not allow the hurt we receive to affect us.  It’s a way of making a clear statement that we will not be controlled by the opinions and malice of others.  This is an important choice to make in life when facing rejection.

It’s  also  saying that we must keep moving on.  Not only do we have to get over any hurt we have, but we need to then move on to seek out those who will receive our love and our message of the Gospel.  Reflect, today, upon any hurt you still carry in your heart because of the rejection of others.  The power to do that, and to live that comes from where? That’s right. It comes from the Christ within us.

The mission of these disciples and the mission of His church is all about engaging and proclaiming the gospel to other people. It is about serving and loving other people, it is about going out of our comfort zone to be a part of other people’s lives, and ultimately seeing other people come into relationship with God so that they may be a part of what He is doing in this world to restore all things to Himself.

That’s what His kingdom on earth is all about.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord, make me a channel of your grace and healing love that others may find life and freedom in you.  Free me from all other attachments that I may joyfully pursue the things of heaven.  May I witness the joy of the gospel both in word and deed.”

Daily Note

The Twelve had to learn the hard way. They had to literally abandon all for the One who is all. Is it any different for us? I don’t think so. I think the Lord wants us to love Him and our neighbor unconditionally. To do so still requires a radical approach, like Francis of Assisi who stripped himself of all worldly goods and was followed and loved by a multitude. Detachment from worldly goods can only be achieved if there is attachment on what is above! True love can only be given if true Love is received. Who I am is directly related to Who He is to me. The Twelve began to walk, to preach, to cure, to live life because they kneeled, listened and experienced a life that was lived to the full in Christ Jesus.

What Is Your Answer?

Daily Reflection – 9/20/2022

Sacred Scripture

Then his mother and his brothers came to him but were unable to join him because of the crowd. He was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside and they wish to see you.” He said to them in reply, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.” (Luke 8:19-21)

Reflection

Are you interested in researching your family genealogy? We have you covered. Are you feeling alone because you have no family? We can help there. Are you searching for a better moral compass in a world that seems to have gone awry? Here is something that can be of great value.

The only hitch is that it’s quite expensive.

One brief preamble. This Gospel does not illustrate a diminishment of the blood family of Jesus. Jesus is quite aware of the blessing of being His own kin, part of His own family. For that reason, He makes this statement as a way of inviting everyone present to see themselves as an intimate member of His family. Jesus wants to invite all people to share His familial bond. 

Jesus tells us that the true definition of family has God as its Father and its children are those “who hear the word of God and act on it.” The family is not first and foremost determined by bonds of earthly kinship, but rather by the bonds of spiritual kinship formed by Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection for us and our salvation.

Understood in this light, this passage reveals a framework for an authentically human and relational spirituality, a spirituality of communion. We are made members of the very family of God through Jesus Christ and His saving Incarnation. We are his mothers, brothers and sisters, as we live His Word and walk in His Way.

The message is simple but profound; God is a God of love and relationship. He has invited us into an intimate and eternal communion of love. His spontaneous response is powerful: all men and women who do the will of God are His family, and each are related in the Spirit to each other. It is a beautiful proclamation to those hurting, isolated and longing for love and a call for men to recognize that all men are their brothers.

Ah, but there is a fee. Not for God’s love, that is eternal. But to be and remain a member of His family, there is a cost. It requires a total commitment to the will of God. That’s because when God speaks, His words are powerful and transforming. And acting on His words will change our lives.

Our hearts and minds must be blended and forged in the crucible of commitment to Christ. Our hearts and minds must reflect that in our words and our actions. Always. If we are willing to step forward, claiming to be part of that special family, then we change in the way we react to one another. No more disparaging other. Nope. No more diminishment of another. Nope. No more judging another. Nope. No more sarcasm or catty comments. Nope. No more differentiating another because he/she is different than we are. No more grudges, no more withholding forgiveness, no more anything that is contra to the love of Jesus Christ.

Reflect, today, upon the invitation of Jesus to be a member of His intimate family. Hear that invitation and say “Yes” to it. And as you say “Yes” to this invitation, be ready and willing to let His voice and His divine will change your life. He will, if you allow Him to be the center of your life,

Prayer of The Day

“Lord, I accept Your invitation to become a member of Your intimate family. May I hear Your voice speak and act upon all that You say. Jesus, I trust in You. 

Daily Note

In these verses, Jesus gives to those with ears to hear and eyes to see, a key insight – familial relationships touch upon, model and make present an eternal mystery into which each of us who are baptized are invited –God’s family. Understanding this insight, and living it, is a key to the spiritual life.

Listen So That You Can See

Daily Reflection – 9/19/2022

Sacred Scripture

“No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a vessel, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hid that shall not be made manifest, nor anything secret that shall not be known and come to light. Take heed then how you hear; for to him who has will more be given, and from him who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.” (Luke 8:16-18)

Reflection

Lamps in the ancient world served a vital function, much like they do today. They enable people to see and work in the dark and to avoid stumbling. The Jews also understood “light” as an expression of the inner beauty, truth, and goodness of God. 

We are reminded in today’s scripture that God’s grace not only illumines the darkness in our lives, it also fills us with spiritual light, joy, and peace. Jesus used the image of a lamp to describe how his disciples are to live in the light of his truth and love. Just as natural light illumines the darkness and enables one to see visually, so the light of Christ shines in the hearts of believers and enables us to see the heavenly reality of God’s kingdom.

In fact, our mission is to be light-bearers of Christ so that others may see the truth of the Gospel – the good news of Jesus Christ – and be freed from the blindness of sin, ignorance, and deception.

Often, phrases like “light-bearers” seem strange or a phrase that should be used for others. That brings us to the need to listen more intently to God.

If we listen for his voice, we begin to understand that God wants us to know that our lives will unfold not as we dream them but as God dreams them. Scripture calls us to trust, to open our hearts and allow Christ to make his dream for us a reality.

All of us can think of things in our lives we had thought would be different, things in our family, things in our business, things in our relationships. There were successes we never achieved and dangers that we did not avoid. But all those expectations are secondary. What is primary is that Christ has called us and we are to follow him.

We can only follow if we learn to listen. We need to hear more.

At the end of a busy day, when our mind is filled with concern and anxiety, Jesus asks us to listen to someone who loves us: to ask our eight-year-old how was day camp; to speak to our teenager about a friend who’s been hospitalized; to ask our spouse what was the best part of the day.

As we listen to the people who love us, we become grounded and our anxiety is reduced.  We all know that we have a responsibility to worship God. Jesus asks us to listen: to listen to a fellow parishioner who greets us or shares a problem with us, to listen to the music that moves us, to listen to the Word of God as it addresses us. Because if we listen, we will hear the voice of Christ, and that will remind us to whom we belong. That will give us peace.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, you guide me by the light of your saving truth. Fill my heart and mind with your light and truth and free me from the blindness of sin and deception that I may see your ways clearly and understand your will for my life. May I radiate your light and truth in word and deed to those around me.”

Daily Note

There is great freedom and joy for those who live in God’s light and who seek his truth. Those who listen to God and heed his voice will receive more from him – abundance of wisdom, guidance, peace, and blessing. Do you know the joy and freedom of living in God’s light?

A Lesson On Feminism From Jesus

Daily Reflection – 9/16/2022

Sacred Scripture

Afterward he journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.( Luke 8:1-3)

Reflection

Century after century, women have had to fight for their rightful voice in society. Century after century, there have been examples of women who have helped change their society. If we return to the base line of Christianity, we see that it was the historical Jesus, through his welcoming and responding to women who taught us so  much. Lessons that need to be remembered in our daily life.

As he did with so many mores, rules and laws, Jesus  turned the traditional view upside down. He showed by example that society then was mistaken. In that society, women did not have the status of men and were denied basic rights.

Jesus defies these expectations in at least four ways, which have implications for us.

First, Jesus refused to treat women as inferior. Given the decidedly negative cultural view of women in Jesus’ time, the Gospel writers each testify to Jesus’ treating women with respect, frequently responding in ways that reject cultural norms. He recognizes their dignity, their desires and their gifts. Yet, today, we still see women working for less pay, women having to prove themselves professionally with far more effort.

Second, Jesus refuses to view women as different. Women who had any flow of blood were considered ritually unclean. Anything or anyone she touched was deemed unclean. Women were not allowed in the same temple area as men. Jesus recognizes the dignity of women in situations that seem by ritual law to demand judgment, for example, the sinful woman who anoints Jesus (Luke 7:36-50) and that of the woman caught in adultery (John 8:3-11). Isn’t it true that, even today, a woman’s gender is often used against her?

Third, Jesus steps over expected boundaries between men and women by his acceptance of women as disciples. Unlike rabbis of his day, Jesus taught women about Scripture and his way of love. His love was and is always inclusive. Jesus knew and taught by example that  all people need to live free and empowered lives, Our current society will still use psychological boundaries to both define and sometimes separate men and women.

Fourth, not only did Jesus have women disciples, but the Gospel writers also assure us that they were prominent recipients of Jesus’ self-revelation. The women around Jesus understood at a much deeper level the path that Jesus was taking.

While we live in a time and culture far different from that of the historical Jesus, his way of welcoming and responding to women has much to teach us. And it is a sad commentary that I even wrote the preceding sentence.

The fact is that men through the centuries have carved out a role for themselves that too often speaks of a distinction that separates them in a superior role. Yet, it is women who give men birth, nurture men, support them, provide emotional support, and in truth are the rocks upon which societies are built. The Christian Church itself was bounded by men and women whose faith was so strong that they gave their life for it.

Wherever we are in our life’s journey, there is but one teacher who will always show us the way. Then and now, Jesus Christ welcomed all of his children to His banquet and treated them with dignity, equality, respect and compassion. Can each of us say that we treat all we meet with the same?

Prayer of The Day

Lord, I am but one of your children. Help me always to respect that each person deserves my respect, compassion and dignity. Help me to realize that if I am to be a true follower there never can be any form of discrimination in my heart.

Daily Note

Jesus recognized that women had gifts for discipleship, and he was not afraid to call these women forth. Women today need to hear that the Christian Church recognizes their “leavening,” and welcomes their creativity and spirituality for the gifts that they can be to the “whole batch” that is our Church and our world.

As She Did, So Should We

Daily Reflection – 9/15/2022

Sacred Scripture

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

(John 19:25-27)

Reflection

Mary stood beneath the cross. She beheld the wounds from which the blood; she saw the hands and feet pierced with nails; she heard the blasphemies and the jeers of His enemies. She heard and saw all this, and it had to cause indescribable pain to her maternal heart.

She could do nothing to allay the sufferings of her Son. The wounds were open; she could not bind them. The lips were parched with a burning thirst; she could not hand Him a drink. The Holy Face was disfigured by spittle and blood; she could not refresh it.

She bore all her sufferings with a heaven-born patience.

At the heart of all this is a lovely story about the greatest gift of the love of a son for his mother, who has indeed poured out her love for him all his life as only a mother can.  Within that lies life’s lessons.

It is deeply moving that Jesus in the agony of the Cross, when the salvation of the world hung in the balance, thought of the loneliness of his mother in the days ahead. Even in the moment of his cosmic battle, he did not forget the simple things that lay near home.  To the end of the day, even on the Cross, Jesus was thinking more of the sorrows of others than of his own. So too should we never forget that the sorrows of people around us are an invitation to extend His love. Even more than an invitation, they are a divine command.

We should look also at the women and the disciples simply being there during Jesus’ hour of need.  They had the courage to face the pain and ultimate death of their loved one and to face the danger of being there at the foot of the cross.  It is easier to be at a distance where you can’t really see, can’t really hear, can’t really participate. But we must never forget that the kingdom of God means our always being there, showing up, not being afraid to share in painful experiences and even to hold the hand and wipe the brow of the dying When people see us, they should see more than us. They should see a person who shares the love of Christ. That is part of His call to us. To live out our faith in the actions of our lives.

Our being part of the kingdom of God on earth also means that we need to be open to transformed and deepened relationships. We have heard the voice of Jesus call us into new relationships because of our life with him.  The church is a community in which we are able to be brother and sister, mother and father together, not because of our birth, but because of Christ’s call to us. 

Finally, the gift of this somber story is the resolute courage of Mary. No matter that the sword had pierced her heart, she bore the suffering and the anguish with not a word of complaint nor tears from her eyes. She believed in her son, accepted the pain and went on to help His disciples as they built His church.

When we stand at the foot of a cross in our lives, how do we respond? With self-absorption and cries of self-pity? Or do we call upon our faith in Him, accept the suffering and continue to move out to help others. Remembering always that we are called to love one another. For that was at the heart of all that He did us and should be in our hearts as we live out our lives.

Prayer of The Day

Lord God, the suffering of your Son for us reminds us that while life may sometimes be filled with pain, we are to rise above the anguish, offer it up to you and use it to fuel our steps as we build His kingdom. Help us always to remember that and to live out His command of love.

Daily Note

His love for us meant that families broken by the adversities of life shall find a new home in the family of Jesus. Families broken apart because of a betrayal by blood shall be placed in the household of God. Strangers shall become fellow citizens; the lonely shall be surrounded by brothers and sisters; the abandoned shall be adopted; the barren shall be comforted by sons and daughters by faith.

Does Any One Love You More?

Daily Reflection – 9/14/2022

Sacred Scripture

Jesus said to Nicodemus: No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. ( John 3:13-17)

Reflection

This gospel passage known by all Christians causes me to tremble when I read it. That tremble is not from my advancing age. Rather, it is caused by the sheer enormity of the words. “ For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.

 It is a love like no other love that you or I may have experienced. It is unconditional. It is unmerited and undeserving. No words can describe it except this – It is a love demonstrated by the greatest act of sacrifice – a Father who gives up a Son and a Son who gives up his life.

There is no word in our human language that could ever convey to the human intelligence the immensity of it.

St John tells us in one brief sentence that it defies definition, baffles all description, that it is inexpressible, unspeakable. “God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son.” The gift of His Son would have to be the proof and measure of God’s love. We may consider it, but never comprehend it; we may know it, but it surpasses all knowledge; we may speak of it, but it is unspeakable; we may search the breadth, length, depth and height of it, but all dimensions and magnitudes fail to supply plummet or compass by which we may tell the extent of it. His gift is unspeakable.

Not some warm fuzzy kind of emotion or sentiment. It is profoundly deep and complex. The Incarnation and the Cross; the suffering the Son had to endure; His sorrows, the suffering and shame of Gethsemane and Golgotha, the darkness, the woe.

His death and shedding of his blood taken together is the answer to the question of the extent of God’s love. It was God’s utterance of an unutterable love; His love declared by His unspeakable gift.

No one of us could ever duplicate it.

An unspeakable gift must produce unspeakable joy. Every earthly pleasure is speak able because it is temporary and conditional. But God’s unspeakable gift of Love carries us beyond the confines of this realm, beyond the limits of time and space, and thus thrills us with divine joy, unspeakable in human speech. It is the joy of faith, the joy of love, not natural but divine. And strange though it may seem, this unspeakable joy goes along with the heaviness of the Cross.

 On earth, trials and sorrow will be our inevitable lot, a light affliction nonetheless; but in heaven, we can only experience a far more exceeding weight of glory. All that is imperfect, and belongs to our present state of mortality, will be swept away by the power of immortality. And that which is humanly unspeakable will now be spoken because and heaven’s language will become our familiar tongue.

When it comes to love, humanity’s version is but a pale shadow compared to the truth of God’s love.  “God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son.” This is God’s love and it is this type of love that God would have us show to others. Have you accepted that challenge? If so, are you living that challenge?

Prayer of The Day

Lord Jesus, you have been kind and forgiving towards me. May I be merciful as you are merciful. Free me from all bitterness and resentment that I may truly forgive from the heart those who have caused me injury or grief.

Daily Note

We see in this gospel that the decisive point is that whoever scorns God’s love condemns himself. God is not at all eager to condemn people. He is nothing but Love, Love that goes as far as the Father sacrificing his Son out of love for the world. There is nothing more for him to give us. The whole question now is whether we accept God’s unconditional love so that it can prove efficacious and fruitful in our lives, or whether we choose to continue to cower in our darkness in order to evade the illuminating love of his grace. If we choose the latter, then the description in the gospel fits us – we are those who “hate the light,” we hate true love, and we affirm our egoism in any form whatsoever, often mistaking such egoism for love.