How Do I Carry On?

( A commentary on John 6: 52-59)

James Martin, SJ on Twitter: "Gospel: What does it mean that Jesus is the  "Bread of Life"? 1) Like bread, a staple food in his day, Jesus is  essential. 2) His word
Daily Reliction – 4/23/2021

Sacred Scripture

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his Flesh to eat?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my Flesh is true food, and my Blood is true drink. Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.” These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. (John 6:52-59)

Reflection

Today’s scripture reminds us of a power that we each have but, often, fail to grasp. In that failure can lie hopelessness even despair.

Here, we see, once again, Jesus facing opposition and criticism. Some were upset and challenging His words. He doesn’t back down.

He responded with even greater clarity and confidence. He took His statement about the bread of life to the next level by saying, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you do not have life within you.”

Here is a person who reveals the utmost confidence, conviction and strength.

Of course, Jesus is God, so we should expect this from Him. But nonetheless, it is inspiring and reveals the strength we are all called to have in this world. The world we live in is filled with opposition to the truth. It’s opposed to many moral truths, and trivializes the importance of daily prayer, humility, abandonment to God, putting God’s will above all things, etc.

So, what do we do? We learn from the strength and example of Jesus. Whenever we find ourselves put in a challenging position, or whenever we feel as though our faith is being attacked, we must deepen our resolve to be all the more faithful.

We must always remember that we are no longer living life when we let others write the script for us.

The Christian vocation is nothing less than a call to become like God. It is about being gathered up into what the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are. And it is the human life of God that began this process. God loved us enough to become one of us so that we may be one with him by being valued as the persons of the Trinity value each other.

Is true life available to us? The world, by itself, cannot rescue us from the grave. Yet the grave cannot contain God. He is the Lord of graves. He has true (or full) life, as he shows us by his Son’s resurrection.

God’s Son (and, therefore, God himself) wants us to share in his lordship over death. He wants us to share in his true life. For he wants us to be united with him and to enjoy what he is about at the core of his being.

Let Him who loves us enough to promise us eternal life be your courage and strength. Now, that’s out of this world.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord, give me the strength of Your conviction. Give me clarity in my mission and help me to serve You unwaveringly in all things. May I never cower when faced with the challenges of life but always deepen my resolve to serve You with all my heart. Jesus, I trust in You”

Daily Note

At the last supper when Jesus blessed the cup of wine, he gave it to his disciples saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28). Jesus was pointing to the sacrifice he was about to make on the cross, when he would shed his blood for us – thus pouring himself out and giving himself to us – as an atoning sacrifice for our sins and the sins of the world.

The cross we must take up every day is not the misfortune that befalls us or the heaviness that weighs us down, but rather the cross of the Gospel, the Good News, the cross is the certainty of being loved for all time, the security of having been forgiven.

The Bread That Sustains Us And Binds Us To Each Another

( A commentary on John 6: 44-51)

I Am The Bread of Life Designed by David Turner - ppt download

Daily Reflection – 4/22/2021

Sacred Scripture

Jesus said to the crowds: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day. It is written in the prophets: They shall all be taught by God. Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my Flesh for the life of the world.” (John 6:44-51)

Reflection

When we are hungry, most of us can eat. When we are thirsty, most of us can drink. We satisfy ourselves.

But today’s Gospel reminds us of a different hunger. A hunger which is not satisfied with one meal. A hunger which carries with it an obligation for more.

We cannot eat of this bread and forget. We cannot eat of this bread and walk away.
We cannot eat of this bread and go on with life as usual. In fact, when we eat and when we drink, when we become part of the central activity and posture of our life together, the central reason for our gathering–we too are saying that God’s will for all of us . . . all of us . . . and all the world is to be restored, saved, healed, made whole!

Maybe if we spent more time and attention in becoming a “feeding people,” if we put our attention in becoming a community of the “bread of life,” if we took more seriously the reality of God’s own presence in our meal, we would spend less time and attention in things that separate us, that exclude others, that close our doors, and that questions God’s image in others.

Part of the challenge of the Christian life is the recognition of our dependence & our interdependence. In eating of this bread of life, we are recognizing our own dependence on God, no longer relying on signs and wonders, instead recognizing our own need. Recognizing that in this eating and in this drinking, in this gathering, we are able to experience God’s self, we in need of sustenance, we in need of something more, we are truly seeing God.

We are proclaiming that God has called us to care for one another . . . if God could leave glory in order to reach us, then we too can leave the comforts of life, we too can leave our cushy pews, our comfortable places of worship, we too can walk out of the doors of our gatherings ready to align ourselves with the cruciform life that is life eternal.

That is the bread of life. A bread that sustains us daily. A bread that reminds us that we are part of Him. A bread that says that to partake of his banquet is to accept a seat at the table which binds us to one another and to Him who loves us.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, you are the living bread which sustains me in this life. May I always hunger for the bread which comes from heaven and find in it the nourishment and strength I need to love and serve you wholeheartedly. May I always live in the joy, peace, and unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, both now and in the age to come.”

Daily Note

Jesus makes a claim only God can make: He is the true bread of heaven that can satisfy the deepest hunger we experience. The manna in the wilderness sustained the Israelites on their journey to the Promised Land. It could not produce eternal life for the Israelites. The bread which Jesus offers his disciples sustains us not only on our journey to the heavenly paradise, it gives us the abundant supernatural life of God which sustains us for all eternity.

Never, Never Forget Who You Are

( A commentary on John 6: 35-30)

John 6:35 - Bible Verse Image About Life
Daily Reflection – 4/21/2021

Sacred Scripture

Jesus said to the crowds, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst. But I told you that although you have seen me, you do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me, because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.” (John 6:35-40)

Reflection

With the world turning as it does, it’s easy to feel that it’s out of control. Being out of control can often lead to persona feelings of despair and being powerless. It often feels like we are wandering without a goal in sight. We can sometimes even feel abandoned, as if God was no longer shepherding us or accompanying His flock on a cloudy and misty day.

And so our lives become nothing more than waiting… waiting for something to change, waiting for something to surprise us. We hope that we will eventually find something but meanwhile, life passes without us ever finding an answer to our unspecified desires.

Then comes today’s scripture to remind us of who we are and the significance of our lives.

Jesus makes three promises to us.

First, he offers himself as spiritual food which produces the very life of God within us. Second, he promises unbroken friendship and freedom from the fear of being forsaken or cut off from God. Third, he offers us the hope of sharing in his resurrection. Jesus rose physically never to die again.

How does play out in our lives?

Initially, we begin by coming to Jesus through prayer, scripture and the sacraments. We come into his presence. “I will not reject anyone who comes to me,” Jesus says.

We then need to see Jesus.  We see him with our eyes, hear him with our ears, we come into contact with him through our senses. Look around. Look within. We need to keep our eyes fixed on him.

Then we need to take the next step . . . to believe in him, to find him trustworthy and begin to trust in him and in what he says. Jesus says, “Everyone who sees the Son and believes in him…”

Without a deep trust and total commitment to Christ and all he stands for; we may find that we do not have full access to that Bread of Life which we need so much.

But if we hold fast to that commitment, we experience the fullness of what life can be. Real life is a relationship with the living God, a relationship of trust, love, obedience, peace, and joy. This is what Jesus makes possible for us – a loving relationship with God who created us for love with him.

No one of us ever as to search for meaning in our lives. God is generous with everyone. He never gives a life without also giving it a meaning.

Jesus begins today’s scripture by saying: “Whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” Jesus totally changes our desires, our aspirations, our hungers, our thirsts. He begins to give us a down payment on that total fulfillment when he raises us on the last day, because through the progression of faith all the way toward the faithful communion with him, he’s raising us up on this very day.

You and I are worthy of that great love. Think about that. Now choose to live it.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus Christ, your death brought life and hope where there was once only despair and defeat. Give me the unshakable hope of everlasting life, the inexpressible joy of knowing your unfailing love, and the unwavering faith and obedience in doing the will of our Father in heaven.”

Daily Note

Jesus has a mission. “I came down from heaven [a phrase repeated six times in this chapter] not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.” And what is the will of the Father? “It is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me but that I should raise it [on] the last day.

This is a summary of what this whole chapter is about. God wants everyone to be with him “on the last day”. On our part, we have to learn how to “see the Son” and “believe in him”, so that one day we can say with St Paul: “I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). When that happens, we know that we have truly been filled with the Bread that is Christ.

How About Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner?

( A commentary on John 6: 30-35)

John 6:35 KJV this is proof that Jesus will provide all satisfaction we  need in life
Daily Reflection – 4/20/2021

Sacred Scripture

The crowd said to Jesus: “What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? What can you do? Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” So Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” So they said to Jesus, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” (John 6: 30-35)

Reflection

When the crowd asked Jesus, “What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you”, I truly think they were asking this without ever really expecting an answer.  What the Lord gave them was better than an answer.  What he gave them was His Life.  And then he gave them a sign.  Actually, he gave them a mirror. Look at yourselves.  What do you see? 

We see ourselves, of course. If we are truly honest, we see that each of us seeks something. Even when we our lives seem full, there is always that small space, that empty spot, that place that asks: “Is there something else. . .   “

Our scripture today reminds us that Jesus invites us to reexamine the reasons for our faith, the reason that drive us along our spiritual path. We are often disappointed when we realize that we may have had hidden or ambiguous motives. Maybe we only want bread or consolation or a bit of hope.

But bread is nothing more than the food necessary to confront the journey. The goal, the destination, is beyond. Jesus wants to guide us into a deeper relationship with Him. He wants to help us believe in Him and to recognize that there is no one else that can satisfy our longings. Everything else is temporary and partial. 

To be fed by the bread of life we have to soak ourselves in the life of Jesus, to assimilate his Way into our own lives. 

One of the most helpful paths to discovering the power of Jesus in our daily lives is to adopt a habit of prayer. I am not talking about saying prayers, although saying prayers is valuable.

The prayer I am suggesting is much simpler. I am talking about connecting regular events in our lives to Christ. For example, when you open your eyes in the morning, why not commit yourself to make that moment a prayer. It can be a simple “Thank you, Lord, for this day,” and perhaps, “Help me with my interview or test today.” In that moment of prayer, Christ will feed you. When you say goodnight to your children or to your spouse, why not make that moment a prayer. You can choose to bless God for the people who make your life worth living. In that blessing, Christ will nourish you.

We need to be fed by Christ every day. How often do we need to be fed? More than once. If Christ is our food, three times a day is reasonable. So, find a way to be fed by Christ daily. Make him your companion at breakfast, lunch, and dinner—and perhaps, even as you snack before you go to sleep.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus Christ, you are the bread of life. You alone can satisfy the hunger in my heart. May I always find in you, the true bread from heaven, the source of life and nourishment I need to sustain me on my journey to the promised land of heaven.”

Daily Note

As bread, Jesus reveals to us that we need him for life and that we need him every day. As bread, Jesus is saying it is not enough to turn to him when we need to be protected or when we need guidance. We need to turn to him every day, because he is our food for life.

More Than Stopping At The Bakery

( A commentary on John 6: 22-29)

Man kneeling at the Cross of Jesus Christ. Silhouette of a man at the Cross  of J , #SPONSORED, #Cross, #kneelin… | Man kneeling, Catholic herald, Jesus  on the cross
Daily Reflection – 4/19/2021

Sacred Scripture

On the next day the people who remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. 23 However, boats from Tiberias came near the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 So when the people saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. 25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” (John 6: 22-29)

Reflection

In today’s Gospel, those who had received the free meal of loaves and fishes had come along the north lip of the Sea of Galilee looking for Jesus there. Because they knew Jesus hadn’t gotten into the boat with the other disciples, they asked, “Rabbi, when did you get there?” But Jesus wasn’t interested in small talk. Jesus wanted to help them to grow in faith, to help them to recognize why they were following him and to challenge him to follow him for the right reasons.

They have seen the things that Jesus has been doing but have missed the ‘sign’, the deeper meaning behind them. The food they are looking for is not the food that counts. The real food brings a life that never ends and that is the food that Jesus is offering.

The source of this ‘bread’ is the Son on whom the Father has set his seal. This ‘seal’ was given at his baptism. It is the Spirit of the Father, who is the power of God working in and through Jesus.

Many of us come to the Lord not just with wants but real material needs, not knowing how we’re going to pay the rent, or put food on the table, purchase the medications they need, or find a job to help support those they love. God wants to hear these prayers. As a loving Father, he wants us to bring our needs to him. It wasn’t this that Jesus was criticizing.

Jesus was criticizing the fact that they had stopped there, that all they were concerned about were their material needs. He wants them to set their minds on the food that gives eternal life.

And he asks them and us not just to ‘believe’ but to ‘believe in’. It is not just a question of accepting certain statements about Jesus and who he really is. ‘Believing in’ involves a total and unconditional commitment of the whole self to Jesus, to the Gospel and the vision of life that he proposes and making it part of one’s own self. This is where the real bread is to be found.

For it is only God can satisfy the hunger in our heart and soul – the hunger for truth, for life, for eternal love and peace.

Prayer of The Day

“Jesus, help me to seek You. Help me to seek You for the help and healing I need. But more than that, help me to seek You out of love. My Jesus, I do love You. Help me to love You more. Jesus, I trust in You. “

Daily Note

Jesus often asks the question: what do you seek? What would you like me to do? Do you want to be healed? Jesus’ desire is to fill the emptiness that inhabits each of us. Like the first disciples, we too seek an answer. And yet, life pushes us beyond the established definitions of things, especially with God

When we are lost and confused, we often turn to God for answers and help. But ideally, we will eventually seek God for more than just healing or comfort. We will ultimately seek God for the reason of love. We will seek Him simply because we love Him and want to love Him all the more. Reflect, today, upon your desire to seek Jesus, or lack thereof. When you can begin to seek out Jesus simply because you love Him and want to love Him more, you are on the right road. And as you walk down that road, you find it is a road of the utmost delight and fulfilment.

How Hungry Are You ?

( A commentary on John 6: 1-15)

Daily Readings in John - Day Eighteen - Reservoir Church
Daily Reflection – 4/16/2021

Sacred Scripture

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee. A large crowd followed him, because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. The Jewish feast of Passover was near. When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people recline.” Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. So the men reclined, about five thousand in number. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted. When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.” So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat. When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.” Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone. (John 16:1-15)

Reflection

The miracle of the loaves and fishes is the only one that is mentioned by all four gospel writers. That does not make it more significant but it does speak to the universal lesson it teaches us.

It’s easy to say that the feeding of the five thousand shows the remarkable generosity of God and his great kindness towards us.

Yet, it also speaks to the human condition and that includes you and me.

Every one of us hungers. Every one of us seeks for something that will nourish us. We hunger for affection, for relationships, for real things. We are born with a natural instinct that reaches out for sustenance; it is a survival instinct, a drive to live.

When you’re hungry, the first thing you think of is yourself. It can be very difficult to stop and think about the hunger that others feel. Jesus asks us to de-center ourselves, to stop being so self-centered. He proposes that we stop focusing on our own hunger.

Philip and Andrew reacted to this proposal by defending themselves with common sense and the logic of the economy.

Jesus asks us to go beyond this logic, to a logic of simply giving. The miracle occurs only when the disciples are willing to abandon the thought of what they possessed and trust in Jesus.

Philip and Andrew’s hunger is satiated at the very moment that they concern themselves with satiating the hunger of those around them and sharing what they have. Centering our attention only on our needs never helps us resolve our problems. He asks us to trust in him.

When life is like a desert without hope, Jesus revives us.

Jesus Christ wants to be our partner in life, our companion; our confidant. He is looking out for us, always keeping his eyes open for an opportunity to feed our hungry hearts with his beauty and truth. He wants to supply for our needs; it is his greatest joy. As he puts it later in this same Gospel, “I have come so that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, you satisfy the deepest longing of our heart and you feed us with the finest of wheat. Fill me with gratitude and give me a generous heart that I may freely share with others what you have given to me.”

Daily Note

We only have five loaves and two fish; by ourselves we can do nothing. Only if we put all we have into Christ’s hands, trusting in him and not ourselves, can we hope to make a real difference for the good of the Kingdom – in our hearts and in society at large.

Open Yourself to His Love

( A commentary on John 3: 31-36)

The gathering storm. Dark cloud gathers over the and nearby village or  Termunten , #Ad, #Dark, #cloud, #gathering, #storm, #… | Clouds, Fantasy  landscape, Sun stock
Daily Reflection – 4/15/2021

Sacred Scripture

The one who comes from above is above all. The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things. But the one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy. For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift of the Spirit. The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him. (John 3:31-36)

Reflection

Today we get the concluding words of the chapter of Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus in which Jesus describes his own mission and the life of anyone born anew from above.

Jesus says that many don’t seek the things that are above, most don’t leave the darkness to enter the light, most don’t allow Jesus to change their fundamental orientation at the root, most don’t really convert and continue to lift up their hearts to God.

Yet, God commits to a full outpouring of the Holy Spirit and offers all the grace we could ever need or want. The beautiful nature of divine love is that it is never ending and ever abundant.

The problem is that we often “ration” His grace. We don’t do this because we believe God is limited. Rather, we often do it because we are afraid to let God unleash His almighty power in our lives.

If we are unable to accept the fullness of his love and let it grow within us then perhaps, we need to examine those things in our life that are “dead.” Those areas of our present or past that block us from truly being his light in the world.  We need to face the hard truth and let something in our life end. As difficult as it might be, at times we need to face what is real and move forward.

Are there areas in your life that are dead and need to be removed? Do you find yourself in a manipulative or abusive relationship, and yet want to hold onto the dream that this relationship is good and gives you joy? Do you find yourself addicted to alcohol, or drugs, or pornography, and yet say to yourself, “My life is healthy, there is nothing that needs to change”? Do you find yourself surrounded with self-pity over someone or something that you have lost, and refuse to let go of the dream that you want things to be as they once were—that you don’t want things to change?

Dead branches in our life not only hinder us, they can at times kill us. That is why, when there is nothing else we can do, we need to let go and let God remove what is dead from our lives. To do anything less would be living a lie. But the good news is this. Letting go, as difficult as it is, is not meant to cause pain, but to foster life. Cutting off what is dead is not cruelty, but an act of a loving God who removes barren branches so that other parts of our life can thrive. Jesus promises us life and joy in its fullness, and he is serious about what he says. We must believe him. If we want joy, we need to trust him. If we want life, we need to let him take what is dead in our lives and prune it away.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus Christ, let your Holy Spirit fill me and transform my heart and mind that I may choose life — abundant life in you and with you.  And give me the courage and strength to always discern good from evil and to reject everything that is false and contrary to your holy will.”

Daily Note

We believe what Jesus says on the basis of our faith in God. Because we trust in God, we trust in what he says and gives witness to. The one born from above allows the Holy Spirit to give witness within him, not putting up any resistance to what God is doing. The Holy Spirit is a witness just as much as the apostles to Jesus’ risen life and when we are reborn from him, we give witness together with him. We don’t ration the Holy Spirit’s work, and he helps us, as St. Paul described to the Galatians and the Romans, to “live by the Spirit,” which allows us to be “concerned with the things of the Spirit.”  And for that reason, Jesus says, such a person living by the Spirit is already living eternally because he is through the Spirit in union with Christ’s risen life.

It’s Always Been Your Choice

(A commentary on John 3:16-21)

John 3:16 - Bible Verse about Life - Bible Verse Images

Daily Reflection – 4/14/2021

Sacred Scripture

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten 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. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God. (John 3:16-21)

Reflection

everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”

God loves us so much that he himself died so that we would live forever. He didn’t want to lose anyone of us. The incarnation, life, preaching, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus were all one big rescue mission. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,” St. John continues, “but that the world might be saved through him.”

But despite Jesus’ not coming into the world to condemn it, there is still a condemnation, there’s still a judgment. It’s the condemnation and judgment that happens when we refuse to accept Jesus’ rescue.

In his conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus once again points out that we remain free to accept or reject his offer of friendship, his offer of salvation. He makes it starkly clear: “Whoever does not believe in him has already been condemned.” Salvation depends on God and on us; God has done his part, now we must do ours.

At the moment of death, the choice for light or darkness becomes final and irrevocable.  But before that time, God is waiting for us to turn to him.  He is rich in mercy (Ephesians 2:4).  He shines his light on our sins and brokenness not to humiliate us, but to show us that evil can take root in our lives. 

The “wrath” of God means a state of alienation from God, but it’s one brought about not by the act of divine punishment but by the selection of people to live and walk in darkness out of a self-love so strong that it turns on God and as a consequence “hates” his light.

Those who live in the peace of God, on the other hand, believe in Jesus, believe in what he says, choose to align their life to the truth he reveals and come to see and experience all things in his holy light.

The aim of the Christian life, the aim of faith, is to live in communion with Christ who is the truth, to believe in him is to believe in what he says and try with all our might to put what he says into practice. And when we live the truth, we want to live in the light not so that we can show what good Christians we are but so that the Father may be glorified, so that our deeds may be seen as done in God, so that God may get the credit, so that our life may give him witness and glory. God so loved us as to make that possible.

Prayer of The Day

I praise you, Father all-powerful, Christ, Lord and Savior, Holy Spirit of love. You have revealed yourself to me, and you have drawn me to share in your life and your love. Stay near to me, God. You have created me in your image and you have given life to this world because of your love. In your goodness make me an instrument of your mercy.

Daily Note

The words of today’s gospel are so beautiful and give us so much hope. We must remember that even though we can adjust and live of this world, it is not what we were meant for. We were meant to be of the light of Christ and only live in this world. God created us for more, He created us to live in the light. Today, let us reflect on the words from John’s gospel: “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.”

Where Are You Looking These Days?

( A commentary on John 3: 7-15)

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Daily Reflection – 4/13/2021

Sacred Scripture

Jesus said to Nicodemus: “‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus answered and said to him, ‘How can this happen?” Jesus answered and said to him, “You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this? Amen, amen, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony. If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 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.” (John 3:7-15)

Reflection

Today in the Gospel, Jesus continues his dialogue with Nicodemus, the “reluctant disciple,” who came to Jesus by night because even though he knew that God was working through Jesus, he wasn’t courageous enough to make a commitment and risk being seen with him during the day, something that might compromise his prestige and status among the members of the Sanhedrin.

As Jesus seeks to open the eyes of Nicodemus, he tells him that the focus must be on the cross.  “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that all who believe may have eternal life in him.”  This is a reminder of the incident in the book of Numbers where, as a punishment for their sins, the Israelites were attacked by serpents.  God told Moses to erect a bronze serpent on a pole and all who looked at the serpent were saved.

The result of Jesus “being lifted up on the cross” and his rising and exaltation to the Father’s right hand in heaven, is our “new birth in the Spirit” and adoption as sons and daughters of God. God not only redeems us, but he fills us with his own divine life and power that we might share in his glory. Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit that we may have power to be his witnesses and to spread and defend the gospel by word and action, and to never be ashamed of Christ’s Cross. 

It’s from Jesus on the Cross that we learn how to unite all our sufferings, hardships, contradictions and difficulties to God. It’s from Jesus on the Cross, ultimately, that we learn how to live with love, because the Cross is not principally a sign of pain and suffering but of the self-giving love that made even that much pain bearable.

But each of us must also accept that it’s not solely about being “born” again from above through the Cross but “living” from above, living by the Holy Spirit who helps us to be buried with Christ so that we may have a newness of life.

Being “born again” by the Spirit is inextricably bound to “living “by the Spirit. It’s only then do we know that our eyes are focused on Jesus Christ. It can’t be a sideways glance. He has to be the center of all that we say and do.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord, grant that all my thoughts, intentions, actions and responses may be directed solely to your love and service this day and every day.”

Daily Note

A decisive direction was presented to Nicodemus. Yet the Apostle John does not describe what reaction Nicodemus had to the words of Jesus; the secretive visitor seems to have silently disappeared back into the night. Perhaps St. John did not immediately reveal Nicodemus’s choice because Nicodemus, in a certain way, is each of us. We have met Jesus, we have sat at his feet, and we have heard his words. What will we do?

Now THAT’S The Power of Change

( A commentary on John 3: 1-8)

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God  unless they are born again. ” “How … | The kingdom of god, Scripture  pictures, Jesus quotes
Daily Reflection – 4/12/2021

Sacred Scripture

Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, `You must be born anew.’  The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3: 1-8)

Reflection

If we are looking for the power of change in a person, Nicodemus is near the top of the list!

Jesus describes him as a chief teacher among the Jews. Nicodemus comes, though, because I suspect he has an inkling that whatever he and others may note in his plus column, he could be missing something big, something that so far has escaped him. Jesus pushes him out of the realm of the comfortable but he remains befuddled.

Nicodemus is also us, trying to figure Jesus out, desiring what Jesus seems to be offering, unsure how to fit it into anything he knows

Accepting the invitation to discipleship offered by Jesus means a new beginning, which is as dramatic and significant as the one that takes place at the birth of a baby.

The idea of being “born from above” is also significant because it reminds us that this new beginning is not something that we can achieve in our own strength, but that it is actually a gift given to us by a gracious god.

We believe in God, but when it comes to changing ourselves, we try to do it ourselves. We think that our strategy and efforts can break a habit of sin or make us more generous people. But that is seldom the case. What we need is not different plans or more willpower. What we need is a new relationship.

We enter into that new relationship when we entrust ourselves to God, when we admit our weakness and inability to change, and ask God to transform us. When we say Lord, “I have been so hurt by that person that I cannot bend to forgive. I need you to bend me, so that I can let go of this hate. Lord, I have put such high expectations on my spouse and my children, that they are harming my relationships. I need you to loosen my expectations, so I can love the people in my life as they are, rather than how I want them to be. Lord, I am so quick to judge others because of their race, sexual orientation, or political viewpoint, and that fills me with anger. Lord, I need you to quiet those prejudices, so that I can live in peace again.”

When we are helpless and hopeless, God promises to change us. God promises to write, in a new way, on our hearts. Now, then, is the time to open our hearts, and let God in, so that we can become the people we are called to be.

And what about Nicodemus? His story continues in the Gospel of John, and it’s clear that in the interim, some kind of transformation has begun in him. When angry crowds in the Jerusalem Temple demand that Jesus be arrested, Nicodemus is the lone man who stands up to defend him. When Jesus has been lifted up and executed upon a cross, Nicodemus is present when Jesus is taken down and is one of two men given permission to bury him. In the last piece of the story, Nicodemus “who had at first come to Jesus by night” (John 19:39) stands there in the daylight, not as a curious seeker of wisdom, but as a disciple risking his reputation and life to publicly identify himself with this Jesus, while more familiar disciples such as Peter have run and hidden from the authorities.

Wherever we end the story, Nicodemus still offers a glimpse at how acceptance of Jesus Christ can challenge us and can change us, not just in what we believe, but how we live.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus Christ, you offer us abundant new life and power to live as sons and daughters of our Father in heaven. Renew in me the gift of faith to accept and obey your life-giving word and to cooperate with the transforming power of your Holy Spirit who changes us into your likeness. May your kingdom come and your will be done in my life today, tomorrow, and always.”

Daily Note

Once we open ourselves to God’s will and God’s way, we let ourselves be led to where God wishes.  “The wind blows where it will.  You hear the sound it makes but you do not know where it comes from, or where it goes.”  The breath of the Holy Spirit is the sole Guide for our lives.  This is the message which is being given to Nicodemus.  He must be ready to move in a different direction from that which has guided his life up to this.  We, too, wherever we happen to be right now must ever be ready for God, through his Spirit, to call us in a new direction and to follow his lead.