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11 Sunday Homily – (B)

11 Sunday Homily – (B)

Ez 17:22-24, 2 Cor 5:6-10, Mark 4:30-32

A man walked into a store. He found Jesus behind the counter. He asked, “What do you sell here?” Christ replied, “You name it.” “I want food for all, good health for kids, adequate housing for everyone, and abortion to cease.” Gently Jesus answered, “Friend, I do not sell finished products here, only seeds. You must plant them and water them. I will do the rest.”

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is again speaking in parables. Parables were Jesus’ favorite way of teaching. He used parables, because parables force you to think. Today Jesus tells us that the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed. Now what is he trying to say? Parables always have multiple meanings. Today I want to suggest to you one possible meaning of the parable of the mustard seed: Jesus is telling us that small things matter.

The parable is very clear on this. The mustard seed is the smallest possible seed. Yet, once it is planted, it grows into a sizeable plant that can give shade to the birds of the air. As we live any day or our life, we should never discount the small things we can do: a word of love or support to our spouse, a few moments to affirm a son or daughter about something they are good at or something that they have achieved, a phone call to a friend who is grieving the death of a loved one, or even a thankful smile instead of a vacant stare as we approach the cashier in the supermarket. These are all small things, tiny things, things that could seem to have no significance. Yet they can be important because God can choose to use them to build up some person in our lives and to increase the goodness around us. We should never discount doing small things in the course of every day.

But neither should we overlook the importance of receiving small things each day. For each day there are people in our lives who give us signs of love and support. How much richer our lives would be if we were open to accept those signs and take them in: the smile of our 3-year-old as we come home from work, the person who breaks to let us into traffic, a friend who says to us, “How are you? How are you really?” All of these are signs that God is using to show us that we are loved and that there are reasons for hope.

Big and flashy things always seem important. But small things matter. Things as little as a mustard seed can shape our lives. We can be the farmer who plants the mustard seed or the soil that receives it—the giver or the receiver. In both cases small things like a mustard seed can make a difference. God uses the small things in our lives to build the kingdom of God.

Another point I want share with you is that don’t allow Satan to lie to you and tell you that you can’t make it and that you will never be good enough. Let God help you and give Him time to help you grow up. Just as you would never a expect a new-born baby to talk and walk like an adult, neither should you expect your spiritual life to be as victorious as that person who has lived for God for many years.

We are all babies in God’s eyes. There is not one of us mature enough in Jesus to say that we don’t need to grow up. A mother and father do not cast out their new born baby for wetting its diaper. They don’t get angry and disown that baby because it trips and falls as it is learning to walk or crawl. They are encouraging and are constantly lifting it up, learning to love that baby more each day because of the process of growing and taking care of its needs. Love only grows stronger with each passing day. God’s love for each of you is much the same except that He loves you as much as He ever will, even before you are born and His love for you cannot be any stronger. Your love for Him will grow – every day you will learn to love Him more. Every day you will grow a little more and your faith will increase a little more.

I want you to know that if that “mustard seed” of faith that you and I have is not cared for and nurtured, it will die just as surely as a new-born baby will die if it is not fed, changed and cared for constantly. We must feed that faith through study of the Word of God, prayer and keeping a close watch out for anything that will come into our life that will injure our faith. You and I have to give yourself time to grow in the Lord. Every day, little by little, trial by trial we will become stronger in the faith and our life will become more victorious in Christ.

The Holy Trinity Sunday

The Holy Trinity

Deut 4:32-34,39-40; Rm 8:14-17; Mt 28:16-20

On the Holy Trinity feast day the priest was preaching about Holy Trinity. Suddenly it began to rain. The priest used the rain to explain the unity in diversity of the trinity. He said something like this: The water that is falling is water, but it can exist in three different forms: gas, solid, and liquid-that is, in steam, in ice and in falling rain. Of course an analogy like this falls short of the reality. But it offers an insight into the Trinity. As there are not three different kinds of water but only water in three different forms, so there is only one God in three different persons.

Trinity is not a myth but a mystery. Myth is unreal but conceivable. A mystery is real but incomprehensible. This Mystery ( Holy Trinity) which has been hidden from ages and from generations but was made manifest by Christ.

Like all mysteries, Trinity is also a mind-boggling puzzle. We need not be surprised at this, because it is about the all powerful God who made the stars and the planets. It is about a God whose center is everywhere.

It is not only the Trinity that is a mystery; in fact nothing about God can adequately be explained. Even Jesus did not give a direct response to questions relating to God and the supernatural. For example, what is the Kingdome? They asked. A mustered seed he answered (Mt.13:31).

The Bible does not define it nor does it explain the creed of three persons in the one God. The mystery of trinity cannot be formulated but is revealed through events. Christ event being the core-message, the Gospels speaks about Jesus’ relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Whatever may be the illustration we may use to explain the Holy Trinity, this One-God-in-Three Persons is beyond our understanding. We do not have the intellectual capacity to comprehend it. Yet we know that the Trinity is the source and the dynamic center of the life of the Church.

There are only vague and hidden references to the Trinity in the Old Testament. But the New Testament gives clear teachings on the Holy Trinity.

1) At the annunciation, God the Father sends His angel to Mary, God the Holy Spirit overshadows her and God the Son becomes incarnate in her womb.

2) At the baptism of Jesus, when the Son receives baptism from John the Baptist, the Father’s voice is heard and the Holy Spirit appears as a dove.

3) At the ascension, Jesus gives the missionary command to his disciples to baptize those who believe, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

In John, chapters 15-18, we have a detailed account of Jesus’ teaching of the role of each person of the Holy Trinity. 1) God the Father creates and provides for His creatures. 2) God the Son redeems us and reconciles us with God. 3) God the Holy Spirit sanctifies us, strengthens us, teaches us and guides us to God. There is so much unity and harmony in the Triune God.

Whatever may be the depth of our understanding of the Trinity, it will remain a mystery. Hence instead of worrying ourselves about how can one God be three persons? It is better to ask a more useful question, which could be this. What is it like to be God? To know what it is like to be God, we must get closer to God and start living a life of intimacy with him. And to live such a life of intimacy with God is not impossible for Christians because our God already dwells in every believer. As St.Paul says. The love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Rom.5:5). God is closer to us than we imagine.

We can follow Christ’s example and live in harmony with God. Those who are close to the Trinity will start living their lives in the right way.

Today the church invites us to reflect on the great mystery of God’s love, and concern what God the Father, the son and the Holy Spirit are for us. The church invites us to reflect one the meaning of the confession of faith:

I believe in God, the Father. I believe in Jesus Christ, His only son. I believe in the Holy Spirit.

In the context of today’s readings we can say: the Father is the power of God. The son is the wisdom of God. The Holy Spirit is the love of God.

Angelus Silesius says: “Do not seek God in our space-your heart is the only place in which to meet him face to face”.

Today’s feast reminds us all that we too are created in the image of the Holy Trinity. And so we have to give up all that is individualistic and selfish in us in order to be communicators and sharers of God’s love in the community as the Holy Trinity does. In spite of the differences of opinion, outlook and attitude, we have to learn to live in harmony. That is God’s creative plan.

The feast of the most Holy trinity reminds us of his unfathomable love for each one of us, a love that never gets exhausted. Through this love we are transformed, we become heirs of God’s kingdom.

So let us try to cherish in our families, communities and society the love of God and the neighbor so that we may be credible witnesses of Christ’s message and that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all.

Corpus Christi Homily.

Corpus Christi Homily

Exodus 24:3-8/ Hebrew 9:11-15/ Mark 14:12-16, 22-26

Today we celebrate the feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

It is the feast of the Holy Eucharist. In the Holy Eucharist, Jesus is truly, really and substantially present. Talking about his real presence, Jesus said. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever.(Jn.6:51).

The Eucharist is the new covenant which Jesus established, the covenant of His love that links God and man with one another. Through baptism we become partners of this covenant, and it is renewed every time we celebrate the Eucharist. In the Eucharist we experience God’s unfathomable love for us, he feeds us, heals us and strengthens us, and he fills us with his life.

Today we celebrate the Lord’s gift, the bread and wine, the Eucharist. The incident with Melchizedek can help us come to a deeper understanding of this mystery. Melchizedek offered a gift of gratitude to God. Jesus’ gift is called the Eucharist, a name that means thanksgiving. When we receive communion we join the Lord in giving thanks to God, the Most High, for his protection of his people.

Melchizedek’s gift was offered for those who were faithful to God. The Eucharist is the food that Jesus gives to his people, his faithful ones. In the days of Melchizedek most offerings would consist in oxen or rams or sheep. After the victim was slain and offered to God, the people would celebrate by eating the sacrificed meat. A great feast would therefore be part of the celebration. But Melchizedek offered bread and wine.  Yet, Abraham saw in this sacrifice an eternal gift and valued it so much that he gave a tenth of his belongings to Melchizedek.

The gift of the Lord, the Body and Blood of Christ that we receive is the greatest gift possible. It is His sacrifice on the Cross made real in the Eucharist for us to eat and be nourished with.

The question: How can Jesus give his body and blood for us to eat and drink? Will remain to the end a matter of faith. It is therefore better to ask, why did he give them?

Jesus changed bread into his own body for us to eat. Why? I once saw a TV advertisement: wonder bread that builds strong bodies twelve ways. Jesus in the Eucharist shared with us the wonder bread of the alter so that we can be fully alive in the spirit. When we look at this bread of life, Jesus wanted us to know that he is with us to satisfy all our hungers. There is a hunger for ordinary bread: Unless this is satisfied, a person will always be in anguish.

Jesus changed wine into his own blood for us to drink. Why? When we drink this blood, he wanted us to know that our sins are forgiven by his blood.

Jesus is the bread of God.

Jesus said, very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave your bread from heaven, but it is my Father who 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. (Jn.6:32-33).and Jesus affirmed that he is that bread come down from heaven. He is the bread of God, the divine bread. The Father gives Jesus as the bread in the Eucharist; he is the food for our souls.

Jesus is the living bread.

Jesus said I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Bread in itself is dead thing. It requires human faculties to digest and assimilate it; it nourishes and cherishes life only because of human faculties. But Christ is the living bread and he nourishes by his own power.

Jesus is the life giving bread.

Pope John Paul II was a great lover of the Eucharist. During one of his trips abroad, he said. Even if the hunger of every man and every woman were to be satisfied by the labor of his or her hands or by the generosity of others, yet the deepest hunger of man would still exist. the deepest hunger is for Eucharist & for God. Therefore come to Christ. He is the bread of life. Jesus is the bread of life, who gives not only spiritual but also eternal life. He once said, I am the living bread that came down from heaven whoever eats of this bread will live forever.(Jn.6:51).

In the Eucharistic banquet we have the foretaste of eternal life. We become sharers of Jesus’ resurrection.

In the Eucharist we experience the personal love of Jesus. He enters in a personal relationship with us. We become one with Jesus.

Experience is essential to human life. From experience we learn the most. And Jesus wants that we experience him personally and deeply. Hence he gives himself to us in the Eucharist form so that we can touch and taste and see how good the Lord is.

One who has experienced God’s love cannot remain idle. He has a mission to fulfill. First of all he has to renew and remodel his life according to the dictates of Jesus’ teaching. He has to be the bearer of the Good News and witness to Jesus word. Love one another as I have loved you. Love is the testament Jesus left as an everlasting legacy. In its practice lies the mark of true discipleship.

The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord was established in the thirteenth century to promote respect and reverence for the Eucharist. The celebration has retained its purpose. We need to stop today and consider our reception of communion. We need to ask God to rekindle in us and in all our people the awe, the respect, and the reverence that is fundamental to understanding the reality of the sacrament of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

Melchizedek, the King of Salem and priest of God the Most High offered bread and wine and blessed Abraham for his faithfulness. And Abraham gave him a tenth of his possessions. Abraham saw in Melchizedek the presence of God who had protected him in battle and rewarded his faith. Psalm 110 promised that a time would come when the people would be given a Messiah who would be a priest in the order of Melchizedek. Jesus Christ is this priest and king. His gift to his faithful ones, his gift of thanksgiving, his Eucharist, is to be celebrated and treasured by us, the descendants of Abraham, God’s faithful people.

May we come to this sacred table so that we may receive Jesus who is the living, life giving bread of God.

The Holy Trinity Sunday

The Holy Trinity.

The famous English catholic layman, Frank sheed went to Hyde Park in London to speak about religion. When he was once preaching there on Holy Trinity, it began to rain. He used the rain to explain the unity in diversity of the trinity. He said something like this: The water that is falling is water, but it can exist in three different forms: gas, solid, and liquid-that is, in steam, in ice and in falling rain. Of course an analogy like this falls short of the reality. But it offers an insight into the Trinity. As there are not three different kinds of water but only water in three different forms, so there is only one God in three different persons.

Trinity is not a myth but a mystery. Myth is unreal but conceivable. A mystery is real but incomprehensible. Today is the feast of the Most Holy Trinity, a mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations but was made manifest by Christ.

He spoke of God as his Father saying, all that the Father has belongs to me. (Jn.16:15). He often called himself, “the son of God and he spoke of the third divine person as the spirit of truth. (Jn.16:13). Like all mysteries, Trinity is also a mind-boggling puzzle. We need not be surprised at this because it is about the all powerful God who made the stars and the planets. It is about a God whose center is everywhere.

It is not only the Trinity that is a mystery; in fact nothing about God can adequately be explained. Even Jesus did not give a direct response to questions relating to God and the supernatural. For example, what is the Kingdome? They asked. A mustered seed he answered (Mt.13:31).

The Bible does not define it nor does it explain the creed of three persons in the one God. The mystery of trinity cannot be formulated but is revealed through events. Christ event being the core-message, the Gospels speaks about Jesus’ relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Whatever may be the depth of our understanding of the Trinity, it will remain a mystery. Hence instead of worrying ourselves about how can one God be three persons? It is better to ask a more useful question, which could be this. What is it like to be God? To know what it is like to be God, we must get closer to God and start living a life of intimacy with him. And to live such a life of intimacy with God is not impossible for Christians because our God already dwells in every believer. As St.Paul says. The love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Rom.5:5). God is closer to us than we imagine.

We can follow Christ’s example and live in harmony with God. Those who are close to the Trinity will start living their lives in the right way.

Today the church invites us to reflect on the great mystery of God’s love, and concern what God the Father, the son and the Holy Spirit are for us. The church invites us to reflect one the meaning of the confession of faith:

I believe in God, the Father. I believe in Jesus Christ, His only son. I believe in the Holy Spirit.

In the context of today’s readings we can say: the Father is the power of God. The son is the wisdom of God. The Holy Spirit is the love of God.

Angelus Silesius says: “Do not seek God in our space-your heart is the only place in which to meet him face to face”.

Today’s feast reminds us all that we too are created in the image of the Holy Trinity. And so we have to give up all that is individualistic and selfish in us in order to be communicators and sharers of God’s love in the community as the Holy Trinity does. In spite of the differences of opinion, outlook and attitude, we have to learn to live in harmony. That is God’s creative plan.

The feast of the most Holy trinity reminds us of his unfathomable love for each one of us, a love that never gets exhausted. Through this love we are transformed, we become heirs of God’s kingdom.

So let us try to cherish in our families, communities and society the love of God and the neighbor so that we may be credible witnesses of Christ’s message and that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all.

The bishop was questioning the children in preparation for Confirmation. He asked one lad what the Holy Trinity means.
The boy answered in such a soft tone of voice that the bishop could not hear what he said.”
“Son,” said His Excellency, “I can’t understand what you are saying.”
The boy spoke up: “Well, bishop, the Trinity is a mystery. Nobody understands it.”

 

The Ascension.

The Ascension.  

Acts.1:1-11.  Eph.1:17-23.   Mk.16;15-20

He who makes a pilgrimage to the Holy land would not miss to visit the small mosque where according to the legend Jesus bade Farwell to the apostles and ascended into heaven. The location belongs now to Muslims who even today show the pilgrims two footprints which Jesus left at his departure.

Today we celebrate the feast of the Ascension of our Lord. Forty days after his resurrection, Jesus took his disciples to Betheny, near Jerusalem , adjoining the Mount of Olives and as he was blessing them, he ascended into heaven.St.Luke the evangelist has given us tow accounts of the ascension of Jesus. One at the end of his gospel. (lk.24:50-51) and the other at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles (1:9).

Thus the ascension of Jesus marks the end of Jesus earthly life and at the same time it marks the beginning of his heavenly life and it is also the pledge of his second coming.

Today we do not have access to any visible signs of the risen Lord but his words and sacraments. It is more expedient that we ourselves become footprints of Jesus in this world as he himself wished: You will be my witness till the end of the world.

That means Jesus should be at work in us, which people may recognize in us what Jesus wants us to be. Jesus has already completed his mission and now it is up to us to continue his mission and convey to humanity the message of salvation.

Jesus showed that we have no lasting abode in this world. He said, “I must return to my Father”. We all have to return to the Father. That is our striving and aspiration. It is there we must focus our eyes.

Thus the ascension tells us: Look up to the real goal of your life, set your sights directly towards that heavenly Father, our creator. Jesus gives us the perfect example. His whole life was directed towards God the Father.

According to Jewish belief there are three regions in the universe the upper one, above the sky, supposed to be the abode of God; the earth, the abode of human beings; the region inside the earth, the Sheol the abode of the dead. Where did Jesus really go?

Legendary language should not be understood literally. And the Bible speaks the language man speaks and understands. Heaven is not a place to be located above or below. Heaven is where God is. Heaven is there where God can be seen and experienced in fullness.

When the Bible speaks of Jesus ascension, it uses the human language and means: Jesus is with God. Jesus shares the glory of the Father in fullness. That is the ground of our joy: Jesus entered into glory and we too will join him.

The ascension is the closing chapter or the opening chapter of his new and more powerful presence in the church. For he promised: I am with you always unto the end of the world. (Mt.28:20). We live ever in God’s presence and render him glory.

The ascension message should be proclaimed through our life, by witnessing the ethos of Jesus. The ascension urges us to communicate to all that Jesus is the Lord of heaven and earth and he wants to save all men. Thus the Ascension is a feast to hope, a reality that transforms our life and gives it a meaning and fulfillment.

Jesus who ascended into heaven will come back again. When the disciples were gazing into the sky after his ascension, two angles in white said to them, O men of Galilee , why are you looking into the sky?

Jesus who had been taken up into heaven, this same Jesus will come back in the same way as you have seen him go there.

We believe that Jesus, who ascended into heaven, will come back again. And when he comes back, he will be seated as King upon the throne and we who believed in him shall be with him to reign with him forever.

The Lord who ascended into heaven has given us a task- to pattern our lives upon his teachings and to complete the task of spreading his name and his message to all the people of the world. May the Lord’s spirit who abides with us help us in this great task?

6th Sunday of Easter (B). ( Mothers Day)

6th Sunday of Easter (B).    ( Mothers Day)

Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 4-48; 1 Jn 4:7-10; Jn 15:9-17

One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother had several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast on her brunette head. She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, “Why are some of your hairs white, Mom?” Her mother replied, “Well, every time that you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white.” The little girl thought about this revelation for a while and then said, “Momma, how come ALL of grandma’s hairs are white?”

Dear friends! I wish all the mothers A Happy Mother’s day. We will have a special blessing for all the mothers at the end of the Mass. On this Mother’s day weekend the church gives us a beautiful Gospel passage for us to be joyful and happy.

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” We all want to be happy and joyful. That’s God’s intention as well. But the Joy Jesus is talking about is not the type of joy we get from this world which are just temporary and momentary. Jesus is talking about the lasting joy, beyond words to describe. How can we experience that type of joy? To experience this joy we need to do two things – obey, and remain. Those are the two commands Jesus gave in vs 10 – “obey my commands” and “remain in my love.” Why did Jesus give those commands? So that we might have complete joy. This is type of commands mothers give their children. Why? Because as parents we want to give maximum protection and love for our children. We are all children of God and God gives us the same commands we parents give to our children.

The first command is obedience. Obedience results in joy. We sometimes believe the opposite – that God has given us this list of “things not to do” to limit our freedom and make us miserable – but the opposite is true. Parents give list of ‘things not to do’ not because they want to make their children miserable but because they love them so much. Obedience to God is the path to joy, not only because obeying the things we are not supposed to do saves us pain and hurt, but also because in the doing of all the things we are supposed to do we find significance and purpose and life.

The second command is “remain in my love.” Joy is the experience of knowing that you are unconditionally loved. You and I have known that unconditional love of Jesus at moments in the past; Jesus command to us is to remain in that love. To never get sidetracked, to never get persuaded otherwise, to never lose sight of the eternal truth of Easter: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son…” Jesus is welcoming us to remain under His wing, to remain wrapped in His arms, to remain always in the midst of the fact that we are loved perfectly, unconditionally, truly, not by virtue of anything that we have done or failed to do, but solely by the grace of God.

If we ‘obey’ and ‘remain in His love’ we will know joy. Joy that is not about feeling, circumstance, or economics. Rather, joy that is about being a part of something incredible -the Kingdom of God. About being part of something eternal – the Kingdom of God. About being part of a people, who meet here week after week together in worship and in seeking God. About being part of a mission to share the incredible good news of salvation with our family members, friends and all the people we meet daily.

Jesus says, “These things have I spoken to you that My Joy may remain in you, and that Your JOY may be full!” It is time for us to really ask: What is it that we really want in life? What will bring us JOY? Jobs? Better Jobs? Houses? Cars? Boats? Spouses? Children? Fixed incomes? Health? Security? Entitlements? Fame? Adventure? Achievements? Wardrobes? Jewelry? Travel?    All remain outside the heart of what we REALLY want! What we all want is LOVE and the JOY it brings with it! It is more than simply human JOY we are seeking; we seek the JOY OF KNOWING JESUS! We find real and lasting joy only by following the commandment Jesus gives us today.

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends.” We will never find joy in pursuing ourselves, but only in loving God and loving one another. That much is an act of our will, a choice we make: to live for others first, and for ourselves second. If you aren’t sure what that looks like in real life, watch a mother of a child from birth through to at least elementary age, many times through to adulthood, and you will see what I mean. And if you look deep into their eyes and hearts, you will see that they take great joy in doing it.           Today just as we ask our children to obey and remain in love, Jesus is asking every one of us to do the same: “keep my commandments … remain in my love”.

6th Sunday of Easter (B).

6th Sunday of Easter (B).

Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 4-48; 1 Jn 4:7-10; Jn 15:9-17

We are all precious in the eyes of God. God has created us for a purpose and we all have some mission to accomplish in our lives. The important verse in today’s Gospel is ‘You have not chosen me, I have chosen you’. We, often, mistakenly think that it is we who have chosen our God. But it is God who calls us even into existence. We are not creatures of accident. We have not come into existence, just because our parents decided to love each other. We were born and we are alive today because God wills it.

God said to the prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you and before you were born, I consecrated you (1: 5).” God is aware of our existence, and we are embedded deeply in the mind of God. Jesus very beautifully said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid, you are of more value than many sparrows (Mt 10: 29-31).”

We may be unwanted by people; we may be rejected and shunned by people. I may be an unwanted son in the family; or you may be an unwanted mother or daughter in the family, but keep this in mind: we are wanted by God; we are worthy, we are precious in the eyes of the Lord. In prophet Isaiah, the Lord said, “Because you are precious in my sight, I love you (43:4)”. And He said, “I have carved you on the palms of my hand (49:16).”

We are called and chosen by Jesus for three things:

1.We Are Chosen For Joy: A Christian needs to feel joyful always. He or she should rejoice always – in good times and in bad. St. Paul wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice (Phil 4: 4).” St. Paul was in prison and he was almost certain that he would be put to death, yet he was able to advice his disciples to ‘rejoice’.

William Barclay, the Biblical commentator said, “Christian joy is independent of all things on earth because it has its source in the continual presence of Christ… The Christian can never lose his joy because he can never lose Christ.”

We need to be joyful because we have royalty, victory and dignity. We have a royalty, which is given by God; no matter how humble our birth is, we are the children of God. We have a victory and we meet life and all its demands in the conquering presence of God.

2.We Are Chosen to be Jesus’ Friends: Jesus has called us to be His friends. He said, “You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father (Jn.15: 14-15).”

Nowhere else can people call God as a friend? The Greeks looked at gods as vengeful and jealous. The Jews looked upon God as ‘El Shaddai’- God Almighty or the One on the mountain. They considered God as the all-powerful.  Even the holy prophets considered themselves as the servants of God.

It is Jesus who has brought in this new kind of relationship between God and us. Now we are the friends of God, because of Jesus. Joseph Scriven wrote: “What a Friend we have in Jesus; all our sins and grief to bear! What a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer!.

 

  1. We Are Chosen for Love: As the disciples of Jesus we are sent out into the world to love one another. Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment: Love one another, just as I have loved you.”

Love that comes from God must enable man to love and enable him to abide in it throughout his life. We have to bear rich fruit that will last. (15:14,16). That means we have to do our duties and live in this world in such a way that everything we do should be the outcome of love. Our actions must manifest God’s infinite love for us. Love should be a criterion of our deeds.

We are urged to show to one another the kind of God’s love Jesus revealed, as we live as members of a Christian community.

To love one another is not a platitude but a prescription, not a counsel but a command. Laying down of one’s life will often mean a lot of little ways of laying downs of our selfishness for the good of others.

But it is also possible to lay down even one’s life for others. Has not Christ’s command inspired martyrs and soldiers and missionaries in every century since the time of Christ? When we are selfish and refuse to love, we build a wall around ourselves and condemn ourselves to a winter of loneliness and bitterness. But when we love and care, the wall falls down and we experience springtime of joy and peace.

 

After Mother Theresa received the Noble Prize, someone asked her, “How can we solve the world’s problems.” She replied, “Go home and love one another.” The thing that is destroying the world today is: hatred and intolerance. God has called us not to be agents of death, but rather to be the agents of love and life. It is only love, which can save the world from destruction. And love shall be the only thing that is eternal. St. Paul wrote, “Faith, hope and love abide. But the greatest of these is love (I Cor 13: 13).”

May God Who created and called us for a purpose, and planted His love within our hearts, help us to bear fruits worthy of His calling.

Prayer: Give me the gift of laughter, Oh, Jesus! I pray though tears should over near; Give me the gift of laughter for each day Laughter to cast out fear.

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