Apr 1 (Jn 7:40-52)

It’s pretty strange that sometimes contradictions that can actually help to recognise the truth!

 

For example:

If there is a similar looking pair of twins… how does one distinguish one from the other?

Obviously… we look into certain contradictions in the two – in appearance, in voice, in behaviour etc – to spot rightly, who is who.

 

If there are two similar appearing chains of gold… how does one distinguish the true one from the fake?

Obviously… we look into certain contradictions in the two, – the lustre, the hardness – to spot rightly, which is true and which is false.

 

Georges Bataille, a French intellectual and literary figure writes, “I believe that truth has only one face: that of a violent contradiction”

 

This fact is clearly demonstrated in the life of Jesus – the Truth Incarnate.

He lived a life of contradictions.

He lived a life of paradox.

 

And therefore Christ had to undergo varied responses from those who encountered Him…

… very few understood Him, a little

… many of them failed to understand Him

… many of them even badly misunderstood Him

 

He remained The Truth – yet, the sign of contradiction.

 

The Gospel of the Day presents this deep contradiction that was experienced by the people of His time – including the religious leaders.

 

The passage records two conversations:

• The first one among the crowd

• The second one among the chief priests and the Pharisees

 

Both have a similar subject: Jesus.

Both have a similar dilemma: Confusion about Jesus.

 

The people in the crowd were confused in recognising who really Jesus was.

The words of the Lord were so authoritative and astonishing that some considered Him as a prophet revisited and some even seeing Him as the Messiah. (Jn 7:41)

 

However, others are not convinced and they begin to debate on the origin of the Messiah.

 

The second conversation, between the chief priests and Pharisees, was not just about some personal opinions, but involved the proper following of the Law as well.

 

Nicodemus, the one who had met Jesus, one night, however , began to defend Jesus.

It was to him, that Jesus, on that night, had told, one of the most loved verses, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son; that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16)

 

After his encounter with the Truth-Incarnate, Nicodemus….

… the genuine seeker of truth, had the spark in his heart, kindled by the Lord of Love.

… the honest searcher of reality, had the longing within, nourished by the Lord of Holiness.

 

And so he stands firm and bold, to defend the One whom he perceived as the Truth!

 

 

 

But here, one also gets to see the deep hatred that was grooming in the minds of the leaders…

 

Nicodemus told that, in judging Jesus, it was necessary to follow the Law properly: “Does our law condemn a person, before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?” (Jn 7:51)

 

He did not say that he agreed with Jesus…

He did not say that he denied Jesus could be a criminal…

All he said was to follow the law – to be just and fair!

 

But that statement provoked the anger of the other blinded and obstinate religious leaders!

 

The forces of confusion and dilemma watered him down, and contradictions reigned galore!

 

• Where there is the proclamation of truth, there is the presence of many false screams, seeking to drown it hard!

• Where there is the defence of truth, there is the defiance of many evil forces, wanting to do away with it!

 

Jesus is a sign of contractions.

He is The Truth.

• In His presence, no lie can stand.

• In His presence, no evil can withstand.

But it is this confusion, that can lead a person to understand the reality, if one is open and honest!

 

Yes, it’s pretty strange that sometimes contradictions that can actually help us to recognise The Truth!

 

G.K. Chesterton has said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.”

 

 

 

The Lord – the Truth Incarnate is ready to reveal Himself to those open at heart and honest in seeking Him.

• Are we ready to learn more from Him and to know Him more?

• Are we ready to draw the waters of Holiness from the Fountain of Truth?

• Are we ready to blaze our lives with the fire of passionate love from the Furnace of Truth?

 
As we begin the new month of April, let us offer all the days of this new month in the safe Hands of the Lord…

… Knowing that HE will lead and guide us…

 
Let us not be…

… confused by the Lord who was the sign of contradiction.

… puzzled by the Lord who was the sign of paradoxes.

 

Instead, let us be…

… convinced in the Lord of Truth!

… passionate for the Lord of Truth!

 
God bless! Live Jesus!

Mar 31 (Jn 7:1-2,10,25-30)

There is an incident about David Hume, 18th century British philosopher. 

He was a person who had rejected historic Christianity.

 

Once his friend met him, hurrying along the streets of London.

He was enquired, “Where are you off to, in such a hurry, Mr Hume?”

 

The philosopher answered, “To hear George Whitfield preach”

 

(George Whitfield was an Anglican Cleric, famous for his preaching and especially in the revival movement termed as the “Great awakening”.

He would draw great crowds and was known as one of the best-known preachers in Great Britain and North America.)

 

This friend was surprised to hear that, since David Hume was a non-believer and queried back, “But surely you don’t believe what Whitfield preaches do you?”

 

With a playful smile, he replied “No, I don’t! But he does believe!”

 

 

>> The philosopher did not believe…

… but the convictions of the preacher made him to listen!

 

>> The philosopher rejected what was spoken…

… but the certainty of the preacher made him to give heed!

 

 

Life is like a roller coaster.

>> There are mountains to climb and hills to coast

 

>> It is convictions in life that will help to experience true serenity and happiness.

>> It is convictions in life that will help to tide across the various storms encountered.

 
We need to ask ourselves…

…. Am I living a life of deep convictions in faith, which makes people to take notice of the Lord and help them come closer to Him?

… Am I filled with a deep passion for the Lord, which makes others to be attracted and fascinated to the Kingdom of the Lord?

 

 

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus, boldly facing and withstanding the various storms of difficulties, and thus emerging as an Epitome of passion and conviction.

 

 

Jesus is progressing in His ministry.

 

>> On one side, there has been a increase in His popularity ratings…

… many sick being healed, many oppressed finding solace, many rejected finding consolation.

 

>> On the other side, however, there has also been an augmentation in opposition to Him…

… many being offended by His radical call of transformation, many finding Him blaspheming, many snubbed at His uncompromising authority.

 

 

But Jesus remains unperturbed!

>> He continues to preach the Word of God…

>> He continues to openly declare His relation with the Father…

>> He continues to publicly affirm His mission and purpose on the earth…

 

 

Jesus is the Epitome of convictions and passion!

>> Nothing could make Him to compromise His convictions…

>> Nothing could make Him to lay down His principles of life…

Neither threats, nor adulations… neither opposition, nor exaltation!

 

Can I also…

… seek to grow in my life of conviction in my faith?

… try to deepen my passion for the Lord and His Kingdom?

 

 

One of the very popular and yet, good-to-remind quote is:

“My life may be the only Gospel…

… that people may encounter

…that people may read

…that people may experience”

 

 

On this last day of the month of March…

… Let us recall all the graces and blessings that the Lord has showered throughout this month

… Let us also seek His forgiveness for the times we have failed to do His will, and renew our commitment to live as Convinced Christians!
Yes, let our lives radiate powerfully and convincingly the message of the Gospel!

 

 

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Mar 30 (Jn 5:31-47)

 Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, is considered to be one of the greatest presidents of the nation.

 

His presidency was under constant attacks and opposition, especially during the painful years of the Civil War.

 

However, thought he knew, there would be occasions for him to make mistakes, he had made one strong resolve: that he would never compromise on his integrity.

>> He sought to make integrity as one of the hallmarks of his presidential term.

 

So strong was this resolve, that he once said:

“I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration…

… that if at the end, when I come to lay down the reins of power, I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one Friend left…

… and that Friend shall be down inside of me.”

 

 

Abraham Lincoln chose not to compromise his integrity…

… because he realized that only that will ensure his friendship with the Lord…

… till the end!

 

 

He valued his integrity for Christ’s sake…

… than to compromise his principles and turn popular

 

He gave priority to his honesty for the Lord’s honour…

… than to dilute his ethics and gain cheap fame.

 

 

Our Christian Life is a constant challenge to stand against such prospects of gaining false fame and phony popularity, by compromising on one’s Christian ideologies and values.

 

 

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus who stood firm and rock-solid, in his mission commitment, even in the face of opposition, indifference and apathy from the Jews.

 

The context of today’s Gospel Passage – Jn 5:31-47 – is the aftermath of the Healing of the Crippled Man by the pool of Bethesda, on the Sabbath Day (Jn 5:1-18)

 

This incident had sparked a rage of opposition against Jesus…

>> He was persecuted because the act of healing was done on the Sabbath (Jn 5: 16)

>> His defense caused the Jews to kill Him, because Jesus equated Himself with God (Jn 5:18)

 

There was a strong wave of antagonism and hostility, against Jesus…

… that was pressurizing Him to compromise His teachings

….that was coercing Him to dilute His principles

 

But Jesus stood firm and rock-solid, in his mission commitment, even in the face of opposition, indifference and apathy from the Jews.

 

 

He therefore presents before the Jews, witnesses which would testify to Him, to His Divinity.

 

He uses the language of a courtroom – “witnesses” – to prove His credibility as the Divine Person

 

The Jews considered that two witnesses were needed for the veracity of a testimony or person.

>> The Torah says, “One witness shall not arise against a man for any sin or guilt that he may commit; according to two witnesses or according to three witnesses a matter shall stand.” (Dt 19:15)

Jesus, however brings in 4 witnesses…

1. The Witness of John the Baptist (Jn 5: 33-34)

2. The Witness of His Works (Jn 5: 36)

3. The Witness of God the Father (Jn 5: 37-38)

4. The Witness of God’s Word – the Scriptures (Jn 5: 39-40)

 

 

Our Christian Life is a constant challenge..

… to let go of our values and principles

… to compromise on our efforts and mission works

 

But we need to be inspired and imitate our Blessed Lord…

… Who was unwilling to let go of His Commitment and Dedication to the Mission

 

And like Jesus, we too have the help of “Divine Witnesses” to accord veracity to our testimony.

 

 

There will be moments when…

… we get into situations of being asked to be dishonest, lethargic and be untruthful

>> We need to seek the Witness of John the Baptist…

… who remained uncompromising in living a life of truth, dare and boldness!

 

There will be moments when…

… life surrounds us doubts in the form of sicknesses and tragedies

>> We need to seek the Witness of the Works of Jesus…

… which brought new life and healing to the hopeless, the lost and the dying!

 

There will be moments when…

…our life will be caught in a turmoil of confusions and uncertainties

>> We need to seek the Witness of God the Father…

… Whose unconditional love and compassion, strengthens us and lifts us without fail!

 

There will be moments when…

… our convictions get challenged by the straying and deceitful philosophies of the world

>> We need to seek the Witness of God’s Word – the Scriptures …

… Which can bring clarity and passion in our Christian life.

 

 

Let this Gospel Passage challenge and inspire us…

.. to remain ever uncompromising in our Christian Life.

>> To stand for God and His Kingdom

>> To live to share His Love and Mercy

 

And to say…

… “if at the end… even if I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one Friend left…

… and that Friend shall be down inside of me.”

 

 

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Mar 29 (Jn 5:17-30)

Let’s get down to do an action song today?

 

He’s got the whole world…

>> In his hands He’s got the whole wide world..

>> In His hands, He’s got the whole world…

>> In his hands, He’s got the whole world in His hands!

 

Many of us know this action song, right?

 

The essence of this popular and simple song, is that God, the Creator is the One who maintains and preserves this entire universe, by His Divine and Loving Providence.

 

 

The Gospel of the Day is an amazing revelation by Jesus on His relationship with the Father.

 

 

This passage has its background in the healing that Jesus performed on a Sabbath day, of a man who had been ill for a very long time – thirty-eight years (Jn 5: 1-16).

 

When the Jews found out from the healed person, that it was Jesus who had done this work, they were extremely furious.

 

Their objection was that…

… Jesus had done this miracle on a Sabbath

… Jesus had made the person to perform a work – of carrying the mat – on the Sabbath day.

 

They, therefore, began to persecute Jesus (Jn 5: 16).

 

But Jesus brought out a fair logic in defending Himself, ” My Father is at work until now, so I am at work” (Jn 5:17)

 

Here is an interesting statement… “My Father is at work until now”

 

 

We did an action song at the start of this reflection…a song which affirmed that God, the Creator is the one who sustains and maintains this entire world, this entire universe.

 

And Jesus also affirms the same here, “My Father is at work until now…”

 

 

This could brings us to an interesting doubt:

>> Did God, keep the Sabbath Law, that He had given to the people of Israel?

 

The Law required the people to refrain from work on the Sabbath Day.

>> Did God do so?

>> Did God refrain from work on the Sabbath?

>> Did the Law-giver follow the Law that was given?

 

Well.. Gen 2:2 says that “God rested on the seventh day”….

 

 

But the Jews soon found out, that if God continued to do so… i.e. resting on the Sabbath day… then by Friday evening, at the start of the Sabbath…

…. the world would soon start collapsing!

… the universe would come to a standstill!

 

 

Therefore, when the commandment of Sabbath was expanded and expounded to specific do’s and don’ts, in order to sort of accommodate God, it was exhorted that…

…one could move something from one place to another in the house but not from one house to another. 

 

 

For eg: a basket of fruits could be taken from one room to another, but not from one house to another…

 

And since, for God, the whole universe is His House, it is justified, that He can work inside His house!

 

Thus it was lawful for God to do the maintenance and sustenance of the world, even on the Sabbath day!

 

 

Drawing from this logic (or illogic!), Jesus now puts forward the truth and justification for His act of healing on the Sabbath, “My Father is at work until now, so I am at work!” (Jn 5: 17)

 

>> Jesus equates Himself to the Father….

>> Jesus establishes Himself as the Son of God…

 

And He draws the point, that just as, on the Sabbath Day, His Father….

… creates and sustains, so is He renewing and bringing life to the world!

… supplies life and maintains, so is He nourishing and refreshing the world!

 

 

>> Jesus, as the Son has every right and privilege to engage in life-saving works, just as His Father

>> Jesus, as the Son has every justification and claim to do life-redeeming works, just as His Father

 

 

As followers of Jesus, we are to be the extension of His life-saving and redeeming works in the world…

… Am I willing to become a person, filled the power of the Lord, in order to bring healing to the world, by my deeds of kindness and goodness?

 

… Am I willing to become an extension of the Lord, imbued with His spirit, in order to spread His love and mercy to our broken and struggling world?

 

 

As followers of Jesus, we need to have the proper and true understanding of the Sabbath…

>> The Sabbath is a day of solemn rest, holy to the Lord…

… Do I give it to the Lord, entirely, engaging only in deeds that help me come closer to Him?

 

>> The Sabbath is a memorial of Israel’s liberation from bondage in Egypt

… Do I remind myself of being a person to be liberated from the bondage of sin, and seeking to grow in holiness?

 

>> The Sabbath is sign of the irrevocable covenant between God and human beings…

… Do I renew the spirit of this pledge and promise to the Lord with salvific deeds of love?

 

 

Let us deepen our relationship and grow in our efforts to be more in union with the Lord…

… the One who guides the world, the One who sustains each of us and the One who fills life in all!

 

 

Yes, the One whose got the whole world…

… the One in whose hands, He’s got the whole wide world!

 

 

 

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Mar 28 (Jn 5:1-3,5-16)

“The seven habits of highly effective people” by Stephen Covey is one of the most popular best-selling book in the world.
The book speaks of seven prime qualities to tap success in life and to achieve one’s objectives and aims.
The first among these seven habits of highly effective people is  “to be proactive” in life.
·   Problems beset every person in this world.

·   Difficulties surround all of us, in every society.
But, the one who is “proactive” in life, is able to get over these “paralyzing” factors of life.
 

The Gospel of the Day is a beautiful presentation of this aspect:  

On how to have our heads raised up, in hope and trust, despite many crushing and crippling causes in life.
 

Jesus is in Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover.

·   As he passed through the town, he came near a pool, named Bethzatha.

Jesus encounters a person there, who has been ill for a very long period… thirty eight years! (Jn 5:5)

We are not exactly told what illness was it…

·   Probably a paralyzing illness… a cripple of the legs… or even a combination of many other sicknesses.

But one thing is known: this sickness made the person to not walk!
 

The sickness had immobilized him.
But more than his physical body, it seems, that the sickness had crippled also his mind:

·   His way of thinking seemed jammed in having hope in life…

·   His outlook to life seemed blurred to see optimism and hope…

·   His perspective of people seemed to distort his confidence and trust…

When Jesus questions the man, “Do you want to be well?”, the man answers not with a positive affirmation or an optimistic assertion.

Instead he begins to get into a complaining and a pitiable mode, ” Sir, I have no one…. ” (Jn 5: 7)

 

·   A ray of hope was offered to him…

.. but instead the man continued to see only the dark clouds.
·   A glimpse of joy was revealed to him…

… but instead the man persisted on the sad aspects alone.

The long period of sickness had blotted his vision and faded his hopes.
 

But the Lord.. the ever-challenging God, does not allow the man to remain in this unfortunate and “look-on-me-with-sympathy-please” mode…

·   Instead, Jesus charges him, “Rise, take up your mat and walk” (Jn 5:8)
 

And immediately the man became well, took up his mat and walked!

·   The presence of the Lord vanished away the man’s doubts and lame excuses…

·   The mighty word of the Lord purged away the man’s feelings of looking at life negatively…

The man became proactive…

… casting away his attitude of complaining to become a person of courage

… dropping off his crippling attitude of “none-to-help” and picking up the mat of power and grace

·   Problems beset each of us in this world.

·   Difficulties surround all of us, at various times and situations
But, the one who is “proactive” in life, is able to get over these “paralyzing” factors of life!

Jesus gives us this courage and the hope to be “proactive” in life, with His grace and mercy.
·   Pro-activity is not a mere human attitude of determination…

… it is an action spurred by the mighty love and mercy of the Lord.
·   Pro-activity is not a mere individual display of willpower and resolve…

… it is an approach, impelled by a tremendous faith and hope in the Lord.
 

You and I, very often may find ourselves in crippling situations of life.

·   We may keep on lying down…

·   We may keep on being a “complaint-box”

·   We may keep on blaming people and situations…

 

Or…
·   We may raise up our heads to see the Lord challenging us to walk…

·   We may garner strength and courage and be bold to pick up our mats of suffering…

·   We may imbue ourselves with the Lord’s power to never let anything cripple our minds..

Shall we be ready, “to rise, take up our mats, and walk?”
The choice is ours…

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Mar 27 (Jn 4:43-54)

Heard of Impalas? 

Impalas are medium-sized antelopes (animals like deer, with smooth hair and upward pointing horns) that roam the African Savannas (large plains with hills and forests).

 

They have a great speciality:

• Impalas are fleet runners, able to leap distances of up to 33 feet (10 meters)!

 

They use this technique to escape predators and sometimes, apparently, simply to amuse themselves.

 

The impala can also clear bushes and other obstacles by soaring some 10 feet (3 meters) in the air.

• Typically, a running impala will simply jump over anything in its path!

 
But there’s a catch…

These extremely versatile animals can, however, be kept in a zoo with only a 3-foot tall wall surrounding them!

 
How is that possible?

 How is just a 3-foot wall enough, to enclosure an animal that can leap upto 33 feet and soar around 10 feet in the air?

 
It’s easy to explain…..

• The impala will not jump if they are unable to see the spot where their feet will land!

 

So, even though they can jump several feet higher than the wall surrounding them in a zoo, they 

do not jump, because the 3-foot wall obstructs their sight of the outside, where they would land!

 

Since they cannot see where they land, they do not jump … even though they could.

 They can, but they remain limited!

 They are able to, but they remain restricted!

 

How often are we too caught up with this mentality in life?

 Small enclosures block our view…and therefore we fail to jump…even though we can!

 Mini problems restrict us in our lives…and we fail to leap…even though we can!

 
The Gospel of the Day presents an incident of a “leap in faith”…

… of a person who fails to get bogged down by enclosures surrounding him, and instead trusting in the power of Lord, “jumps”…and is blessed!

 

Jesus is in the land of Galilee…away from his hometown. (Jn 4:43)

• His own people in the hometown have rejected Him.

• The known persons of His native place have failed to give heed to His mighty deeds.

 

And so He arrives, yet again, at a Gentile place… where they welcome Him wholeheartedly!

 
How true is this of many a human situation…

 Those familiar to oneself, fail to understand…but those outside, are able to give better respect!

 Those known to a person, fail to see the value of the person…but those who are unknown, recognise the speciality of the person!

 

Familiarity, very often, breeds contempt!

 

 

In this gentile land, a royal official whose son was ill – nearing death -approached Jesus, seeking for a healing.

 

He travels a far distance – nearly 25 miles, from Capernaum to Galilee – and coming to Jesus, he asks, “Sir, come down, before my child dies” (Jn 4: 49)

 

The request of this official would perhaps, remind some of us of another person, who came with a similar problem….

… The centurion – in Mt 8: 5-13 – whose servant was at home, paralyzed.

 

This centurion had showed tremendous faith and was even greatly praised by Jesus.

 

But the royal official, in today’s Gospel, had a mixed bag of faith…

• He had faith in Jesus, which made him to come a long distance to meet Jesus.

… his faith was however, prompted mainly only because of a need for a healing.

 

• He had faith in Jesus, which made him to request the Lord for a healing.

… his faith, was however, limited by physical distance (since he asked the Lord to come to his house, unlike the Centurion (Mt 8:8)

 
Often our faith resembles this royal official…

… turning to the Lord only in times of afflictions and troubles

… having our own doubts on whether the Lord can really work miracle in the way I want

 

But we must also remember…

… hard and difficult situations, are willed by God, to allow for miracles and healings, which ought to become the springboard for a deeper and committed life of faith!

… the Lord has His own ways and means of working powerfully in our lives, and we need to have the openness and humility to receive them in His way and in His time!

 

 

When the Lord gives His word, ” You may go; your son will live” (Jn4:50), this royal official, with a mixed bag of faith…. makes a tremendous “leap and jump” in faith.

 

The Gospel says, “… the man believed what Jesus said to him and left” (Jn 4: 50b)

 

 

There were many enclosures – of pain, doubt, uncertainty- surrounding the royal official…

… but he makes a giant “leap” trusting in the Lord.

 

Perhaps, he was not sure, where he would land, but he still “jumped” in faith!

 

Our lives, very often necessitate this “jumping” in faith, trusting in the mighty power of the Lord.

 Unlike the Impalas which do not jump, when they can’t see where they are landing, this royal official, trusted in the Lord, and takes the “leap” of faith.

 

We too are called to do the same…

… Not be afraid, where we will be landing, but trusting in the goodness of the Lord, we make a “leap” of faith.

 

• Barriers of immense difficulties and crisis often surround us.

• Walls of tremendous hardships and pains often block our lives.

But, the Lord has empowered us with graces to jump and leap over them all!

 

• It’s His grace that strengthens us.

• It’s His mercy that empowers us.

 
Are we going to get enclosed by the walls of discouragements, despair and depression?

… or shall we, with faith, “leap” over these walls and experience the joy and thrill in the Lord?

 

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Mar 26 (Jn 9:1-41)

Plato was a Greek philosopher, who along with Aristotle, is considered to have laid the foundations of Western Philosophy.
In his work, “Republic”, he writes about the famous “Allegory of the Cave.” 

The Allegory begins with an imagination of a cave, where people have been imprisoned from birth.

>> These prisoners are chained so that their legs and necks are fixed, forcing them to gaze at the wall in front of them and not look around at the cave, each other, or themselves.

Behind the prisoners is a fire, and between the fire and the prisoners is a raised walkway with a low wall…

… behind which people walk carrying objects or puppets “of men and other living things”.

The prisoners are only able to see the shadows cast upon the cave wall in front of them. 

>> The sounds of the people talking echo off the walls, and the prisoners believe these sounds come from the shadows.

For the prisoners, the shadows are reality, because they have never seen anything else.

>> They do not realize that what they see are shadows of objects in front of a fire, much less that these objects are inspired by real things outside the cave.

The allegory then invites us to suppose that one prisoner is freed. 

>> This “freed” prisoner would look around and see the fire. 
The light would hurt his eyes and make it difficult for him to see the objects casting the shadows. 

>> He would escape from this struggle by turning away to the things which he was able to look at…

… and these he would believe to be clearer than what was being shown to him.

Now suppose that someone should drag him…the steep way up, into the light of the sun.

>> The prisoner would be angry and in pain.
However, slowly, his eyes would adjust to the light of the sun.

>> First he sees only the shadows. 

>> Gradually he sees the reflections of people and things in water and then later see the people and things themselves.

>> Eventually, he is able to look at the stars and moon at night until finally he can look upon the sun itself.
He would make an Upward movement – towards faith and trust! 

The allegory goes on to say that the freed prisoner “would feel blessed for the change”, and pity the other prisoners…

… and would want to bring his fellow cave dwellers out of the cave and into the sunlight.

The returning prisoner, whose eyes have become accustomed to the sunlight, would be blind when he re-enters the cave…

… just as he was when he was first exposed to the sun. 
The prisoners, inside however, would infer from the returning man’s blindness, that the journey out of the cave had harmed him and that they should not undertake a similar journey. 

>> These chained prisoners would be “filled with anger and antagonism” and resist the truth! 
In fact, if they, were able, would even reach out and kill anyone who attempted to take them out of the cave.
They would make a Downward movement – towards scepticism and unbelief!

This allegory very beautifully speaks of a similar situation in the Gospel of the Day…

… a man – who was imprisoned by blindness – “feeling blessed” in having encountered Jesus, the Sun

… other men – who remained chained in ignorance and darkness – “filled with anger and antagonism” – resisting the Truth!

Chapter 9 of the Gospel of St John is a story of “blindness” encountering Light- with contrasting effects:

>> A man who is “born blind”, touched by the Light of the World, experiences healing

>> Other people “remain blind”, by opposing the Light of the World, emitting hostility.

We thus see, in this long yet beautiful passage contrasting movements:

>> An Upward movement – towards faith and trust – of the man who was born blind

>> A Downward movement – towards scepticism and unbelief – of the people who clung to prejudices

1. The Upward movement – towards faith and trust – of the man who was born blind
Jesus declares that the blindness of the man was an occasion for “the glory of God to be revealed” (Jn 9: 3)
This revelation of the Glory of God comes about with Jesus doing a unique action…

… “spitting on the ground, making clay with the saliva and smearing the clay in the eyes” of the man born blind (Jn:6)

>> This action of the Son would remind us of the action done by His Father, who at the beginning of creation, would reveal His Glory, by “forming man out of the clay of the ground, and blowing in his nostrils, the breath of life!” (Gen2:7)

This act of the revelation of God would trigger the upward movement- of faith and trust- of the blind man…

a. Initially he on being asked about Jesus, he would say, “I don’t know” (Jn 9:12)

b. Then, he would say how Jesus is “a prophet” (Jn 9: 17)

c. Then, he would get defensive about Jesus and say that “if He is not from God, He would not be able to do anything” (Jn 9: 33)

d. Finally, after realising that Jesus is the Son of God, he would worship Him and say, “I do believe, Lord!” (Jn 9: 38)
 

2. A Downward movement – towards scepticism and unbelief – of the people who clung to prejudices
An act of goodness always gathers detractors and critics…

… and Jesus, the Perfection of Goodness greatly experienced it. 
a. Initially, the Pharisees pointed to the violation of the Sabbath Law, to prove that He is not from God: “This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath” (Jn 9: 16)

b. Then, they would question the parents of the man, because they thought, he had not been blind from birth: “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How does he now see?” (Jn 9: 19)

c. Then, they would defend their arguments basing on their loyalty to the authenticity of Moses, the law-giver: “We know that God spoke to Moses, but we do not know where this One is from” (Jn 9: 29)

d. Finally, they would engage into a direct dispute with the Lord Himself: “Surely, we are not also blind, are we?” (Jn 9: 40)

Jesus perfectly sums up…

>> The Upward Movement- towards faith and trust

>> The Downward Movement – towards scepticism and unbelief…

… by saying: ” I came into this world, for judgment, so that those who DO NOT SEE MIGHT SEE… and those WHO DO SEE MIGHT BECOME BLIND” (Jn 9: 39)

We need to ask ourselves:

“What is the direction of my Spiritual Life…

… is it having an Upward Movement, towards Faith and trust?

… or is it having a Downward Movement, towards, Scepticism and Unbelief?”

St Paul says, that we need to “live as children of Light, for Light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth” (Eph 5: 8-9)

The Lord, in our every day of life, uses a number of occasions – pleasant and unpleasant situations – to “reveal His glory”

>> Do we remain open to His Light in order to have an upward movement into deeper faith and trust?

>> Or do we get closed in darkness and thus make a downward movement into deeper scepticism and unbelief?

As in the “Allegory of the Cave”…

… let us not remain chained in ignorance and darkness – “filled with anger and antagonism” – resisting the Truth

>> Instead, allow ourselves to be led into the light and thus “feel blessed” in having encountered Jesus, the Sun!

God Bless! Live Jesus!