Reading I: Is 50:4-9a
The prophet Isaiah insightfully tells us how the suffering servant feels that his tongue was trained by the Lord to lift up those who are weary. While he encouraged others, he did not resist those who beat him up, spat at him and pulled his beard. The Lord was his help and therefore his face lit up like flint that shall produce fire, knowing very well that he will not be put to shame at any cost. All those who uphold the Lord are near him. The Lord challenges all those who want to oppose him. The Lord is his help, who can prove him wrong?
Gospel: Mt 26:14-25
Judas Iscariot had decided to betray Jesus. He went to the chief priests, who agreed to pay him 30 pieces of silver to hand Jesus over to them. From then on, Judas was looking for an opportune time. Jesus’ disciples approached him and asked him about the preparations for the feast of the Passover. He told them to arrange for the Passover with a certain man in the city. The disciples did likewise. And, while they were dining, he said, one of them will betray him. The disciples were shocked to hear this and each one began to vindicate himself saying that he is not the one to betray him. Jesus said that the one who dips his hand into the dish with him will be the one to betray him. With distress, he said that the person who will betray him will reap the fruits of his bad action and it would have been better for him to have not been born. Judas now asked about himself, whether he was the one to betray him. Jesus replied that he had said it so.
In life, we get many indications to re-orient ourselves. But, we choose to ignore them, because Change demands a lot from us. Shall we put it this way, “Life is a teacher, and we are students.” Supposing, you are gaining weight and are unable to do things with ease …are you picking up the message that you are body is giving you? Are you ignoring them or doing something about them? If you ignore them, then, the body (in this example) will at one moment stop functioning in the way it should. Likewise, we see that people in the world, give us a lot of feedback about the way we are, or the way we function or the way we behave or the way we think, etc. Do we pick up some things from their feedback or do we turn deaf ears to their suggestions? Supposing, a group is ignoring you, you need to cross-check if everything is fine with you. When you have exhausted all the relevant questions about your behaviour, then you could be sure that the way you are doing things is fine. Otherwise, you have the duty to dialogue and correct your ways. Just look at the biblical personality of Judas, the disciple who betrayed the Lord. Judas had a lot of opportunities from the Lord to correct himself. Did he learn from them? Probably, no. The Lord had performed several miracles, but he was not moved by them. He was looking at the Lord from his own perspective of the political messiah. He could not see the divine person that Jesus was. When Mary wiped the feet of Jesus with the costly perfume, he questioned the rationality behind the action. He thought that the money was wasted on perfume; instead, it could have been sold and the money could be given to the poor. The Lord clarified to him that the act of anointing was a preparation for his death. But, Judas was not prepared to understand the significance of those words of Jesus. He does not understand the magnitude of the sacrifice on the Cross. He does not pick up the message. Again, during the last supper, when Jesus tells his disciples that one of them will betray him, he does not pick up the message. He even questions whether he was the one who will be betraying him? And when the Lord says, “You said, it so,” he still does not pick up the message. Why did he not pick up the message? Well, it is a mystery. But, one thing, we could perhaps understand is that we humans pick up what we want to pick up. We listen to what we want to hear. We see what we want to look at. It only means that the alertness to things around could be weak in many of our cases. We create our own worlds. In the bargain, we miss some of the important things that we need to pay attention to. And, sometimes, it happens that we really miss big things in life. We don’t want to repeat what Judas did. Let us pick up the message and learn from him. By the time that Judas realized his mistake, the damage was done and the messages that should have been paid attention to were insignificant for him. Let us pick up the message the Lord is giving us every day!
Holy Week: Tuesday 30 March 2021
The pain of being betrayed…
Apart from the physical pain of sicknesses, we have different experiences of pain.
The psychological pain, mental agony, emotional pain, the pain of being abandoned, being ill-treated, humiliated, unnoticed, rejected, unrecognized etc.
Jesus had experienced all kinds of pains in his life, including the pain of being denied three times and left abandoned by all his disciples except the one who loved him much.
But the Gospel says that there was a pain that really made him troubled. He was troubled in spirit and said, ‘one of you will betray me.’ Yes. it was the pain of being betrayed.
He was troubled at the last supper, pondering about the ways he would be handed over to the chief priests, how he would be abandoned by his disciples, how he would be denied three times. He was troubled at the thought of how he would be tortured and killed.
All these would begin with a single kiss, the betrayal of the one who dips his bread with him.
This was a severe pain that made his heart heavy. The pain of being betrayed, betrayed to death because betrayal always accompanies lots of plotting. He speaks of this person, ‘it would have been better for that man if he had not been born,’ (Mark 14: 16).
The point we need to reflect is that Jesus was not worried about his own suffering that he had to undergo, rather he was much worried about the soul of Judas. Being with him yet he was far away from him. Though the path of life and light was set before him, yet he chose darkness.
Today’s liturgy calls us to ask ourselves a few questions.
Have we given this pain of betrayal to people? Have we ever betrayed those who placed their trust in us? Have we ever betrayed those who loved us and taken us for confidence?
The answer most of the times is ‘YES.’ Betrayal is becoming common in every walk of life. We see children betraying parents, and parents in return, couple betraying each other, the political leaders betraying the entire nation…it has become so common that we cause this pain to others…
Let us remember that every time we cause this pain to others, the pain of betrayal, we walk into the shadows of darkness, far away from the light, deviating ourselves from the path of life. And every time we betray in one way or the other, our great master and Saviour Jesus Christ is troubled in spirit, at this act of ours.
Let us take a resolution that we would never cause this pain to others and that we would never betray anyone who places all their trust in us.
(Fr Ashok SDB, Province Secretary of Tiruchy Province (INT))
Holy Week: Monday 29 March 2021
Today’s first reading, speaks about God paying the price of sin. “The wages of sin is death” as St. Paul says in Rom.6.23. God is not only merciful, but he is just. The just punishment for our sin has to be paid. So the Prophet Isaiah speaks about the Messiah as the one who will “faithfully bring justice to the nations”(Is. 42.1,3.) He has been given to us as the price of our sins “the covenant to his people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison, those who sit in darkness.” (v.6)
Jesus before he actually died on good Friday is reminded of his death at the house of Martha. A thanksgiving-Eucharistic- a meal is arranged for Jesus and his close friends by Lazarus. Mary does something strange at the close of the meal. She passed to the back of Jesus couch where he was reclining carrying a vase of pure nard. This ointment was costly; Judas who puts a price on everything and does not know the value of anything quickly calculates the price of the ointment being equal to about a year’s wages. Mary breaks the neck of the alabaster jar and pours out its content generously on his feet, reminding us of the “breaking of the body” on the cross and his blood generously poured out a few days from thence. The aroma fills the room and as Jesus said her lovely gesture of pure love poured forth generously still floats across the centuries even to this day. St. Paul says that we who still love him are “the aroma of Christ”(2. Cor. 2.15-17) to God among those who are being saved” Some times we become a stench instead of being the aroma. Ask the people around who feel it.
Immediately after this, we hear the first recorded words of Judas, “Why all this waste”? (Mt.26.8) This question is often heard even today from people who do not love Christ nor his Church. Why waste money beautifying a Church when Jesus was born in a manager? Why many young talented handsome men should waste their life becoming priests and religious? Why should beautiful young girls waste their youth and vigour in some cloistered nunnery? Why waste time and money looking after the aged and terminally sick people? The answer is simple. Love is the answer.
The ointment was costly for Mary, but not too costly for the Son of God who had given her back a new life; who had given her back her brother Lazarus. That is the way this model disciple loves Jesus. She does not count the cost, and she does not mind what others may say. She is focused on Jesus and seeks to honour him. Her devotion to him is single-minded and knows no bounds. She loves Jesus (as St. Therese of the Child Jesus will put it) “unto folly.”
The fragrance of the ointment signifies the abundance of affection. , “it is also a personal love exclusively to Him, a love that justifies many sacrifices,” says Segundo Galilea The juxtaposing of Mary’s abundant generosity, reflecting her great love, with the hypocritical objection of Judas who has only “philanthropy” is both an example for imitation and a warning. Philanthropy- human development, love for the poor, social service etc was serving as a cloak for covetousness in the case of Judas. Counted as wasted was that which was expended on God’s honour and worship.
Are we willing to appear foolish before the world just to love Jesus with our whole heart?
(By Fr. Francis T.J. Sdb, SPCA delegate for Mission)
Lent Week 6: Palm Sunday 28 March 2021
THAT’S NO WAY TO END UP
Isaiah 50:4-7; Philippians 2:6-11; Mark 14:1—15:47
Addressing a college audience, Gordon Liddy (a former FBI agent and White House staff) emphasized that only force, ruthless use of violence, and an iron will could earn the respect of friends and foes in this “real world”.
One of the faculty rose timidly and stammered: “But… in our country, most people… base their ethics on… the teachings of Jesus… and this-doesn’t-sound-like-the-teachings-of-Jesus.”
Liddy glared a moment, took in a breath, and bellowed: “Yeah! And look what happened to Jesus!” He flailed his arms outward as if on the cross and said: “They crucified him.”
The audience was stunned. Briefly. Then there was thunderous applause! Liddy had stated what they believed. He said: “Failure, persecution and pain, instead of success, appreciation and a good retirement—that’s no way to end up” (cf. A.J. Conyers, “The Eclipse of Heaven”).
The crowds in Jerusalem two millennia ago applauded Jesus and greeted him with palm branches because they expected a conquering hero. However, since Jesus’ power was not the power the world understands since the Messiah was not a military hero but a suffering servant, their cheers quickly turned to jeers.
Paul is clear in the Letter to the Philippians: though Jesus was the Son of God, he did not cling to his privileges but humbled himself and became obedient unto a shameful death on a cross. Abused and abandoned, he did not rebel, he did not use force but was the suffering servant. It was this crucified and broken Jesus who “truly… was the Son of God”, a fact the Roman centurion recognized and affirmed. Wasn’t the Roman a foe?!
Failure, persecution, and pain—that’s the way Jesus chose; that’s the force of God… which has won the respect, love, and faith of millions of people through the ages.
Which way will I choose: the way of Gordon Liddy—success, appreciation, and a good retirement, or the way of Jesus—the way of obedient suffering?
(By Fr Dr Vinod Mascarenhas SDB, Province Secretary of Mumbai Province)
Lent Week 5: Saturday 27 March 2021
In the first reading (Ezekiel 37:21-28), the Lord says that he will cleanse his people, and shall make a covenant of peace with them, an eternal covenant with them. “They shall be my people and I will be their God.” The response for the responsorial taken from Jeremiah (31:10-13) reads thus: “The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.” The gospel reading (John 11:45-56) shows the fulfilment of God’s word given in the above two passages, that happens in Jesus, who will die to gather together the scattered children of God. Strangely the corrupt Caiaphas, who was the high priest during the arrest of Jesus, prophesizes: “It is better for one man to die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.”
Authority comes from God; we are obliged to obey those in authority at all costs except when they against God and truth. Caiaphas, we may say, was one of the villains in the plot that led to Jesus’ crucifixion. He was the high priest then. He had been corrupt and had made it to the top through the influence and manipulation of his father-in-law Annas. God’s message comes to Caiaphas, though he was corrupt.
At this point in the gospel, John the Evangelist comments, “Caiaphas did not say this on his own, but the as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one” (John 11:51-52).
Even Caiaphas becomes part of God’s design. God can and does act through immoral or corrupt authority figures. If we are wondering whether to obey authority or not, this is a beautiful instance. Truth can come only from God, even if we perceive those in power are manipulating people and circumstances by using all kinds of intrigues, pressures and machinations in order to profit for themselves. We have a duty to disobey authority when they go against truth, morals, and faith. But in almost all other instances, I’d imagine, we have a duty to obey authority with all our heart (even when they are involved in dirty or manipulative politics).
Authority is all about authenticity. Authority devoid of authenticity is mere domination and manipulation. The nucleus of all authority should be truth and genuineness. But when we don’t see this happening, it is a time to look beyond to God, from whom all authority comes. Our own lives should reflect God’s authenticity.
We will meet many Caiaphases and Pilates and Hitlers in our lives. We may see them as a block to our lives. But let us remember that all authority comes from God. No political movement, no human agency, no human structures, no human governance can give us the happiness and peace that we all seek. Human intelligence and wisdom are incomplete. Everything points to the Infinite, to God who is the Master of History. He is the God of history. His plans and designs, though mysterious, are those that will be accomplished. His ways are not our ways, His thoughts are way beyond ours. His goodness cannot be measured with our limited minds. He can work all things to good. He can use everything, even our tragedies and miseries and failures.
As parents, elders and as people who have the responsibility in society, we need to have the inner authority of authenticity in us. Whether we are leaders or not, we need this inner authority of sincerity and integrity. The closer we are to God, the more authentic and sincere will our life be. The closer we are to gospel values, the more integral will our living be.
The cure for many of the woes in our society is not a new ideology or a new methodology, but the cultivation of authenticity. Authenticity forms the base for our conversion, for our various conversions: intellectual, psychological, moral, ecological, religious and spiritual conversions. Without authenticity, there is no change, there is no growth. Without God, nothing is authentic. (God is the source of all truth; and therefore, the love of God is the source of all truth.)
May our Christian and spiritual lives cultivate authenticity as an essential virtue!
(By Fr (Dr) Maria Anthuvan SDB is the Rector and Provincial Secretary at Don Bosco Provincial House, Guwahati. He has recently published a book on spirituality entitled, You are God’s Wonder: 52 Reflections and Prayer-Practices for a Life in the Spirit (Guwahati: Don Bosco Publications, 2020). He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lent Week 5: Friday 26 March 2021
Reading – Jn 10: 31 – 42
Though British Historian H. G. Wells did not believe Jesus was God’s son, he affirmed Jesus to be the world’s greatest teacher. British theologian C. S. Lewis considers Wells’ position inconsistent. Lewis says we’d never call a human being who claimed equality with God a great teacher. We might call him a fool, a madman, or the devil; but we’d never call him a great teacher. When it comes to Jesus, Lewis says, we can’t have our cake and eat it too. Only one of the four choices is open to us. Jesus was either a fool who should be pitied, a madman who should be shunned, the devil who should be stoned or the Lord who should be adored.
From today’s Gospel, we come to know that Jesus was a courageous and fearless preacher. He came face to face with death many times and that too in violent and rude forms. He went on proclaiming the Good news of God’s love for people, in spite of the danger to his life from all quarters, because he was prepared to give his life for us. One important lesson that we can learn about Christ from today’s Gospel is that Jesus remained entirely calm and undisturbed even when he was in deep trouble and difficulty. As Christians and disciples, we too shall face many troubles and challenges in our daily life. In these moments we shall call on Christ to help us remain calm and unperturbed until slowly we find a way out of the problem with the grace and wisdom that comes from Jesus our Saviour through the Holy Spirit.
(By Fr. Sebastian Jose SDB, Rector of Don Bosco College, Maram)
Lent Week 5: Wednesday 24 March 2021
Lent Week 5: Wednesday 24 March 2021
Burning flames will not consume you
The first reading today gives us a great lesson that ‘God would deliver us from all dangers if only we place all our trust in him.’
King Nebuchadnezzar was surprised to witness the great faith of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and because of which how God saved them from the burning furnace by sending his angel to deliver them.
What is more surprising and inspiring is the stand of the three virtuous persons. Though the king set the fire of death before them, ordered the furnace to be seven times hotter than usual, the three virtuous men stood for their faith. They refused to worship the golden statue.
Sometimes in life, we face similar situations.
The threats are grave, the fear of death is around, problems, confusions, frustrations be the walk of day-to-day life. Our life of faith is put to test every minute.
The pit of destruction is set before our eyes. Chances are many to be corrupt, to be discriminating the have-nots, to be pleasure-seekers, to be dishonest, immoral and illegal. There are many gods that invite us to worship them.
In all these dangers, and helpless situations do we take a stand? Are we able to say, ‘come what may, I love my God and place all my trust in him?’
Do we take a stand, to put our trust in Him, confront the temptations of the world, prefer to take all hardships to save our lives and save our soul?
When we choose God, he sends us his angels to save us from all dangers. When we are not afraid of the test of fires that are set before us, putting our great faith in Him, he would appear in the fire as he did to Moses in burning bush and say,
‘Fear not I am with you.
Deep waters will not overwhelm you.
Burning flames will not consume you.
I will be ever beside you to deliver you.’
(By Fr Ashok SDB, Province Secretary of Tiruchy Province)
Lent Week 5: Tuesday 23 March 2021
Today, the fifth Tuesday of Lent, only one week away from the contemplation of our Lord’s Passion, He invites us to look at him in anticipation while redeeming us on the Cross. We understand Jesus on the cross when we understand the meaning of the Bronze serpent lifted up in the Old Testament, in the book of Numbers. St. Augustine says that “in the OT, the NT lies concealed; in the NT, the OT lies revealed”.
In today’s First Reading– the story begins with the Jewish people going through the desert to the promised land and being bitten by poisonous snakes. They rebelled against Moses and spoke disparagingly of the Sacred Manna. They were punished forthwith for their sins.
This bronze serpent has a somewhat murky history. Long before Moses cast this figure in copper, the serpent was a popular figurine in Canaanite fertility rituals. It was a serpent that symbolized the devil in Genesis 3. Perhaps it was because of this pagan background that Moses’ bronze serpent later became an object of false worship and was destroyed as an idol by King Hezekiah (2 Kgs 18:4). But today the doctors use the twined serpent as a symbol of Life.
The snakes were called seraphs in Hebrew probably for “the fiery one,” from the burning effect of their poisonous bite. As a result of Moses’ prayer, God told him to make a bronze seraph and mount it on a pole, and if anyone who had been bitten looked at it, he would recover. Moses did as instructed, with the promised results. In the NT, Jesus is the new Bronze serpent. «Our High Priest is Christ Jesus, the new Moses. His precious body is our sacrifice that He immolated on the altar of the Cross for the salvation of all people» says St. John Fisher.
Jesus applied that picture to Himself when He told Nicodemus that just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must He be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life (Jn 3:14f). The seraph, mounted on the pole, released those doomed to die due to their sins because as St. Paul says, “the wages of sin is death”(Rom.6.23) “God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). Truly, Christ is “lifted up” for us, in his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. When we look upon the crucified-risen Christ, do we accept that we also will be “lifted up” along with him—both in suffering and in glory?
Jesus, lifted on the cross, saves us from spiritual death. «When you have lifted up the Son of Man» (Jn 8:28). The Crucified Christ, indeed, —“lifted up” Christ!— is the great and definite sign of the Father’s love towards the fallen Humankind. His open arms stretched out between Heaven and Earth, outline the indelible measure of his love for the world he loved. “The nature of God is love, not power. And love is best revealed in humble self-emptying” (Nil Guillemette, SJ).
By seeing Him like this, lifted up before our sinful glance, we shall encounter the Great I AM that Moses encountered at Mt. Sinai. (cf. (Ex 3:14; Jn 8:28).
Let us focus our attention on a few things that we need to do during this lent,
- We can also easily miss the mountain for the scenery like the Jews who belonged to the world. Do we belong to God or to the world? The “world” in John’s gospel does not simply refer to the material world, but to all forces and mentalities that oppose the Kingdom of God. And this is also Jesus’ invitation to all of us: to live in the world without becoming worldly. The world has a way of “swallowing” us whole if we allow ourselves to be dictated by its values. So, St. John warns us “Do not love the world…1. Jn. 2.15.
- Jesus in today’s gospel says: “I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me… …I always do what is pleasing to Him,” (v. 28, 29). Through these words, Jesus is using the image of an ambassador. Someone has jokingly said that an “Ambassador is one who lies abroad”. But Jesus is a true ambassador of the Father to the world and to us. An ambassador is an authorized representative of a country. He speaks not in his own name but on behalf of the one who sent him whose whole duty and responsibility is to interpret the mind of the one sending faithfully to those to whom he is sent. What type of ambassadors are we Infront of the world? Do we do things that “please him” ?
- As we are about to step into the “Greek Week of Lent”, we are given a chance not to die in our sins. Let us Look to Him. Let us believe in him as the “lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Let us repent of our sins. Let us confess our sins. Let us behold him and live. (1 Jn. 1.9)
(By Fr. Francis T.J. Sdb, SPCA delegate for Mission)
Lent Week 5: Monday 22 March 2021
Lent Week 5: Monday 22 March 2021
THE LAST TO THROW STONES
Today we have a long first reading (Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62): the story of Susanna, an innocent married woman, who was falsely accused of adultery by two lustful men. Susanna is led into a clever trap from which there seems no escape. However, the woman defends her integrity at the risk of being falsely accused of being unfaithful to her husband in a society that was even less forgiving in these matters than our own. In fact, the whole community, after hearing the evidence from the two men, was ready to stone her for her adultery and indicated this by laying their hands on the woman’s head.
She would certainly have been executed by stoning if the “young boy Daniel” had not come on the scene. The rest of the story is a description of his integrity, his sense of justice and insight. Through his clever and separate examination of the woman’s accusers, he proves them liars and the sharp contrast between the two trees mentioned – one being quite small and the other tall and majestic – only made clearer the inconsistency of the two men’s evidence. They end up receiving the punishment originally intended for the woman.
Really, the focus of this long and dramatic story is on Daniel and on his perception and wisdom and as a champion of justice. But, in today’s liturgy, it leads by way of contrast to another and very different case of adultery in the gospel reading (John 8:1-11). A situation where the woman is clearly guilty and yet wins Jesus’ total forgiveness.
While the theme of Susanna’s story is justice and truth, the gospel story focuses on shared responsibility. A woman cannot commit adultery alone. Then Jesus says something extremely important. “I do not condemn you.” Susanna was innocent, but the woman in the gospel story was guilty. Jesus offered a complete pardon to the guilty. It is only in the context of our sinful weakness that we can fully appreciate the greatness and the compassion of our God.
Reading both these stories today, we might reflect on how much we enjoy reading explicit and sensational media accounts of sexual wrongdoing and, with the media, sit in judgment on people who are being accused. We want to be one of the first to throw the stone. (It is strange about human nature that we feel shame over our failings and fight to keep them hidden, but we take pleasure in exposing the evil of others.)
Jesus’ attitude, on the contrary, was one of compassion and forgiveness. “Neither do I condemn you; go away, and from this moment sin no more.”
Jesus refuses to discriminate between the “good” and the “bad” in the story. He refuses to take sides in that way. The side he chooses is that of unity and cohesion, and of the ultimate goodness hiding in each one’s life. It is a choice that is against anything that tears human life apart, makes it impossible, or kills it. Jesus did what he helped the woman and her accusers to do: “Don’t condemn. Go home, and don’t sin.”
Looking at this story we can first look forward with confidence to the same compassion from Jesus for our sinfulness. But we also need to have the honesty of the Pharisees who did not dare punish the woman because they acknowledged that they too were sinners.
How often have we unhesitatingly sat in judgment on someone for wrongs they have done with never a thought of our own culpability, picking specks out of others’ eyes while there are planks in our own.
Let us be the last to throw stones. Let us be the last to condemn, and the first to forgive and embrace the sinner.
(By Fr Maria Anthuvan SDB, Province Secretary and Rector Don Bosco Provincial House, Guwahati)
Lent Week 5: Sunday 21 March 2021
WORK FROM THE INSIDE
Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 5:7-9; John 12:20-33
A little boy asked: “Why is it that when I open a marigold it dies, but if God does it, it’s so beautiful?” Before anyone could respond, he said: “I know! It’s because God always works from the inside.”
The little boy was wise to God’s way of working! Whether it’s with nature or with people, God works from the inside as today’s readings indicate.
In the first reading, God announces the new covenant he intends making with his people. The earlier covenants had external elements: the sign of the covenant with Noah was a rainbow; the covenant of Sinai was inscribed on tablets. In this new covenant, God will put his “law within them and write it upon their hearts”. All will then “know” him. This “knowing” is not an external keeping of laws; it’s an inner relationship with God.
The Lord assures the Jews in Babylon, uprooted and in exile: “I will be their God and they shall be my people.” God is not restricted to their home territory or to an external structure; God is with them wherever they go.
In the gospel, Jesus uses the analogy of the death of grain to produce fruit to emphasize that – beyond an inner relationship – the covenant involves a dying to oneself and a rising to eternal life. God always works from the inside!
Growing in relationship with God and becoming persons God calls us to become, begins with a dying to our immaturity, to our doubts and fears, to our prejudices, to our self-centred wants, to our plans and our will.
This inner work takes time and patience. So often, like the little boy, we force growth, we force change in behaviour in ourselves and in others. Like his marigold, we die. But this dying is not like the dying of the grain! It does not produce fruit; it produces frustration. We need to work from the inside with patience. We need to allow God to work from the inside.
Will I allow God to write his law upon my heart? Will I – like Jesus – fall into the ground and die to myself so that I can produce fruits of the kingdom? Am I willing to let the divine gardener nurture me with his never-ending love?
Let me allow God to work from the inside and “create a clean heart in me.”
(By Fr Dr Vinod SDB, Province Secretary of Mumbai Province)