God is the Great Gift Giver!
>> He loves to lavish gifts on his creation…and especially on Human Beings, the Crown of His Creation!
Among the gifts that He has showered, one of the greatest gifts is..the Gift of Freedom!
God has bestowed this precious treasure of Freedom to each and every human being.
>> God regards the worth and value of this gift.
>> God respects our yes or no, to this gift!
The Gospel of the day presents to us a classic example of Freedom being lavished, but sadly being squandered away.
>> The towns of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum were given the freedom and the choice to become part of the Kingdom of God…
… but they chose to reject and refused the Saving Message.
The Gift of Freedom is a double-edge entity:
The gift of freedom can be used….to obtain life!
>> The gift of freedom can be misused…to obtain death!
The gift of freedom can be abused well…to receive curses!
>> The gift of freedom can be utilized well…to receive blessings!
The gift of freedom can be exploited destructively…to acquire sadness!
>> The gift of freedom can be employed constructively…to acquire happiness!
The triple cities of Bethsaida, Chorazin and Capernaum failed to use, utilize and employ constructively their freedom…
… rather, they misused, abused and exploited destructively their opportunity to find peace and salvation.
And Jesus has harsh words reserved for such kind of an attitude – “WOE TO YOU!“
The word “woe” in Greek is “oh-hoo-aai” or “ouvai”!
The figure of speech is onomatopoeia – it means what it sounds like.
>> It is a word of pain!
>> It is the sound someone makes when they are hurt or are grieved.
When the Lord proclaims a WOE over these cities, there’s a great deal of anguish amplified with a sense of pain.
>> The Lord was pained that these cities received wonderful opportunity to hear God’s saving message…
… but failed to turn to God in repentance.
>> The Lord was pained that these cities received great chances to see God’s miraculous deeds and wonders…
… but failed to turn to God in penance.
>> The Lord was pained that these cities received exclusive occasions to receive God’s salvific graces…
… but failed to turn to God in humility.
The Lord today challenges us to make an examination of our lives:
God lavishes many graces on me through regular chances to hear God’s word through the Bible, retreats, recollections, talks, spiritual magazines etc…
>> Am I using these chances to grow in my spiritual life?
… or am I wasting away many of such chances?
Is freedom used?
>> Or misused?
God showers many opportunities for me to avoid sin…
…. by giving me inspiring and holy thoughts
… by a constant urging to be good through my parents, superiors, family and community members and other people in my life…
>> Am I using these opportunities to foster my holiness?
… or am I frittering away much of such opportunities?
Is freedom used…?
… or misused?
God bestows many occasions to become a powerful witness to His love and His Gospel through different means like…
… preaching the Word
… celebrating or participating in the Eucharist and in the other Sacraments
… helping others in their needs and difficulties, praying for various people
… living a integral life in the society based on the Gospel values etc.
>> Am I using these occasions to strengthen my Christian life?
… or am I throwing away many of such occasions?
Is freedom used…?
… or Misused?
The example of the three cities of Bethsaida, Chorazin and Capernaum is before us and the condemnation of Jesus, because of their lackluster response is also before us.
>> Freedom is the great gift of God…
… and God totally respects the use or the misuse of this precious gift.
Are we going to use this Gift to gain life, blessings and happiness…?
… or are we going to misuse this Gift to receive death, curses and sadness?
Today we celebrate the Feast day of a peaceful and powerful saint – St Francis of Assisi…
… who is a beautiful example of a person who fruitfully and faithfully used the freedom that was bestowed on him!
St Francis of Assisi probably is one of the most popular saints in the entire world.
>> The name of this saint invokes so many pictures and words to our minds – nature, animals, poverty, renunciation, cross, stigmata, surrender, trust, another Christ, etc.
On this First Friday of the month, let us seek the Intercession of this Wonderful Saint in being an instrument of joy and peace, praying:
“Make me, Lord, a channel of your peace…”
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “We have freedom to do good or evil; yet to make choice of evil, is not to use…
… but to abuse our freedom!”