Thursday, April 14, 2011

PALM SUNDAY-17-04-2011

JESUS GIVES UP HIS LIFE

The Evangelists are not reporting the passion and death of Jesus to move us. They are showing us Christ who freely gives up his life for love of all people.
The first reading tells us what happens to each “servant” who wants to be faithful to the mission God has entrusted him
The gospel presents the only one who has fully realized in himself the image of his “servant”: from the glory of the Father to the Humiliation of the death on the cross, to the glory of the Father to the humiliation of the death on the cross, to the glorification of the resurrection. This is also the course proposed to every person
.

Nobody is excluded from the kingdom of heaven except through human fault.
(St. Thomas Aquinas)

Dear beloved sisters and brothers in Christ,

Our first reflection on Palm Sunday is this day ushers us into Holy Week. And it introduces us to Holy Week with a memorial of our Lord’s solemn into Jerusalem. This solemn moment at close of Christ’s earthly life shows that he went voluntarily to his death. He went to it with royal freedom and dignity.
Throughout his life he had waited for his “moment” And during the public life he had referred to it so often. Yet he is not crushed by the prospect of it all. It is an hour of triumph, when he will redeem mankind and seal with his own blood his love of man.
It was Palm Sunday that that for the first time Christ during his earthly life allowed royal homage to be paid Him. They had tried to make him king; but his hour had not yet come, he dodged them.
At solemn Mass the faithful will repeat this drama. We shall make a procession with Palm branches in our hands. Those branches are symbols, symbols of our loyalty to Christ our king. They are also symbols of our willingness to do Him homage. Of course we profess our faith in it, the king of kings, everyday, but today we are given an opportunity to do it publicly.
This event also brings us face to face with suffering. We all have to prepare for our Calvary. It is not lip-service, but by his words. There are those who will feel they can’t be left home to watch TV and will move with the crowd and also singing Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna! Son of David, but they will stop there and the coming Sunday after back to square one, what the young people call “KAMA KAWA” business as usual.
Dear brothers there is left one week to prepare for Easter, five weeks are already gone: looking back we may wonder what we have done. Have I said an extra prayer? My relationship with my neighbor, have I tried to make them back, have we done an extra good act? Have I received sacraments more frequently and more fervently? What effort have you made to mend your life? Have you tried to reconcile with those with whom I was not friendly? Have you tried to control yourself where love was inordinate? In one word have you made yourself a good Catholic?
You have seen runners gain speed and gain on those who are leading a minute or two before the end.
Let us make firm resolves for a real spiritual renewal so that the celebration of Christ’s resurrection in the body may be an occasion for our spiritual resurrection.
Let us rejoice with the triumphant Jesus at his solemn entrance and allow him entrance into our lives. Let us dedicate our lives to him as our supreme Lord, our savior and our king. And lastly, let us take our cross daily and follow in his footsteps. Don’t we too feel tempted to let go of everything when evil triumphs and we can do nothing about it? But just when we think that there is nothing to be done, we should remember that angels of the Lord “will soon roll away the stone and sit on it” (28:2)

“He who has no vision of eternity will never get a true hold of time”
(Carlyle)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT (10TH /APRIL/2011)



1st Reading (Ezekiel 37:12-14)
2nd Reading (Rom 8:8-11)
3rd Reading (John 11:1-45)

THEME: JESUS THE LORD OF LIFE

In this Sunday we have to reflect on light that light which glows in each person. To some it shines, others it’s blinking, others it has been dim or dead. Jesus is talking to us about the resurrection, we need to believe in what we say and live. Most of us want to go to heaven but we fear to die.

“Those who live in the lord never see each other for the last time”
(German proverb)

Read this Gospel and note down those things which usually confuse, puzzle you and those you find difficult to understand. We are being told of a strange family that has no mention of parents, husband, wives, sons… only brothers and sisters. I believe you might know what this family stands for in the mind of John. It’s clear: it’s the Christian community, where there are no superiors or subjects, but all are brothers and sisters. In the family a brother dies and this death always brings people to ask themselves questions. One disciple does so and what does Jesus answer?

Jesus is told that Lazarus is sick and instead of going to visit immediately, but he remains there for two more days, he gives the impression that he wants to let him die. Haven’t you too wondered how, in the absence of telephones, emails, twitter, face book and blog. Martha knew that Jesus is coming and while Martha went to look for Mary what did Jesus do? Why did he not follow her? Why did he wait for Mary to come? We would not have behaved like that, certainly.

Jesus can’t be interpreted, he says “if anyone believes in me will never die” But how can he promise his disciples such a thing when we Christians die every day, just like all other people? What does he really mean? And finally we see Jesus weeping over the death of his friend. How can we explain this? Was he only pretending? I believe by now you have noticed that that other details.

Why does Jesus allow his best friend Lazarus to die? This should be a lesson to each of us in our Christian community. What do we do when a dear one is ill? We first look for home cures then we consult the doctors and when even these can do nothing, we turn to religion, we pray to God, being sure that if he loves us he will certainly come to our aid, and maybe even work a miracle for us.

Jesus by letting his friend die is a lesson that he did not come to stop physical death. His task is not to break up the natural course of the life of man. This life has an end, it cannot last forever. The Christian religion is not competing with those other sects that through ceremonies and entreaties to ancestors or spirits, say that they can cure many diseases. Jesus has not come to make this life eternal, but to give us another life that will have no end. This is what we learn from the dialogue between Jesus and Martha

Lazarus had stayed in the tomb for three days and this meant really the person is no more, s/he is dead, the fourth day was when Jews believed that life has finally left the person. This is natural normal, and we need to prepare ourselves for it. (of a brother/sister in the Christian community).

The Egyptians professed that there is life after death very early in their history, the people of Israel began to mention the resurrection of the dead much later and at the time of Jesus there were still many who denied it outright. Martha was among the many who believed in the resurrection of the dead. She is very convinced that his brother Lazarus would return to life once again, but at the end of time, together with all the just people who had been admitted into the kingdom of God. What do you think of Martha’s faith? Is it the same or different from our faith as Christians? It is different, quite different!

The early Christians used to call death a “birthday” its Jesus who gives new life “Yes lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the son of God, the one who was to come into this world”. Jesus is not indifferent that is why he weeps for the death of Lazarus, he knows that his friend is not dead but he is with God, but at the same time he is sad since he will be separated from his loved ones, even for a limited period of time.

There are two ways of weep: there is the desperate and noisy one, of those who hold that death is the end of everything. In the other is Jesus’ weeping at Lazarus’ tomb. The gospel describes these two different ways of weeping by using two different verbs. It say Martha and Mary and the Jews “wept desperately”, while in the case of Jesus it states that tears streamed down from his eyes. Christian weeping is this second kind, serene and dignified. The loss of a beloved one is painful, and difficult to bear. But we would be selfish to keep all to all to ourselves the one we lose. It would be like preventing a child from being born.

Jesus had to order the stone to be removed from the tomb. That stone was meant to separate the world of the living from the world of the dead. For those who believe in Christ this has been conquered and the barriers between the world and the world of God have been removed.

This Sunday in most parishes brings the catechumenates to the climax of their instructions. They are made to be fully aware that the day of their baptism is also the day of their resurrection. That is when they will receive the life that will never end.

Before I conclude this reflection I would like to answer the question that was asked above: why didn’t Jesus enter Bethany immediately? The reason is quite simple and linked with the symbolism of the Gospel of John. All the villagers are weeping desperately and Jesus doesn’t approve and can’t share this kind of grief. That is why he does not go in; he wants all to come out instead.

It’s not that I’m afraid to die. I just don’t want to be there when it happens”

(Woody Allen)

IN MEMORY OF DAVID JACOBUS BOSCH

TRANSFORMING MISSION : David Bosch- Some Personal Reflections by Willem Saaymann, Prof. Emeritus in Missiology at Unisa, Pretoria, Sout...