January 26, 2020 – 3rd Sunday of the year, Cycle A

“Trusting in the Power of the Lord even in the barrenness of our life – attributing all glory to Him – knowing that we will have our Day of Midian!”

(Based on Is 9:14, 1 Cor 1:10-13, 17 and Mt 4:12-23)

The town of Feldkirch, Austria in 1799 was faced with the prospects of being attacked by the armies of Napoleon.

It was an Easter Day and the sun shone brightly, letting the soldiers of the enemy being spotted.

The Town Council was called together, in haste, to consult what had to be done.

> It was a situation of tension.

> It was a time of immense distress.

After a long period of discussion, the dean of the Church made a proclamation:

“My brothers it is Easter Day!

We have been reckoning our own strength, and that fails.

Let us turn to God.

>> Ring the bells and have service as usual, and leave the matter in God’s hands…”

It was a hard and (humanly speaking) a risky decision, but they agreed to do as he said.

Thus from the Church towers of Feldkirch, rang the boisterous and joyous peals of the bells, in honour of the Resurrection of the Lord.

> The streets began to be filled with worshippers, hastening to the Church.

The enemy army, on hearing the sudden ringing of the bells, were taken aback with surprise and shock.

They came to a conclusion that the Austrian Army had arrived in order to relieve the place.

>> So they fled hastily!

The town of Feldkirch were saved from the possibilities of destruction and ruin!

Divine Providence had rescued a tiny town, who placed their trust in Him, from the deathly clutches of a mighty army!

Is my life of faith, characterised by a “Deep Trust in Divine Providence”?

The Gospel of the Day is a wonderful presentation of the marvels that can be witnessed when one place’s one’s complete trust in the Lord and surrenders one’s life – in action and deeds – to the Providence of the Lord.

Our Blessed Lord was into His ministry of preaching and proclaiming God’s Word, after the arrest of John the Baptist (Mt 4:17)

The Word was transforming people…

… and in sometime, a wonderful transformation was to happen to a person, who would become a close follower of the Transforming Lord!

“As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea” (Mt 4:18)

In the Gospel of St Luke, we read in interesting statement, in the similar context…

… “the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets” (Lk 5: 2b)

This verse, though little and appears insignificant carries a mighty message: the message of the Power of God’s Providence.

The fishermen had toiled the whole night

… caught no fish, and were now, dejectedly, washing their nets.

The boat was empty – bereft of any fish!

But Divine Providence had a mighty plan in this “barrenness”

>> The emptiness of the boat allowed our Blessed Lord to enter it, and make it His Pulpit for preaching God’s Word!

>> The vacancy in the boat prompted our Blessed Lord to enthrone it, and make it His platform for calling His First Disciples!

Had there been fish in the boat…

… in all probability, the fishermen would be in it, sorting and cleaning the fish..

… and would have left no space for the Blessed Lord to preach from it

Had there been a mighty catch that night…

… in all probability, the boat, filled with the fish, would not have been there

… and the vehicle of “catching fish” would have missed the chance to be a “podium for proclaiming God’s Word”

Is my life, at this point, empty and barren

… like this boat?

>> Maybe its been a long time I have been watching and expecting, patiently and faithfully, for my boat to be filled.

>> Maybe its being a horrible wait, sometimes even leading to frustration and hopelessness, for my boat to be filled

But can I trust Divine Providence, in having a purposive plan for this “emptiness and barrenness”?

When Jesus called them, “Come after me, I will make you fishers of men…”

… “At once, they left their nets and followed Him” (Mt 4: 20)

Here is a beautiful story of how..

A competent fisherman who had failed utterly in his field of competence…

… is initiated into being a competent fisher of people, for the Kingdom of God!

As Christians, we do claim to be people of faith and belief.

>> But does this “faith” translate itself into real “trust”?

>> When hardships come in life

… I may proclaim my faith with my lips

… But do I “trust” Him to take me through?

>> When emptiness fills my life

… I may perform external works of faith

… But do I “trust” Him to utilize my barrenness, in the way He wants?

>> When toils of life yield no results

… I may persist in saying that I have faith

… But do I “trust” Him to grant me the fruits of labour, in His own time and in His own measure?

And if I really “trust” in the Lord…

… I would be a person of joy, going about my works without anxieties and radiating serenity and calm…

> even when walking through the valleys of sufferings

> even when sinking in the deluge of pain

> even when surrounded by the clouds of uncertainty!

Prophet Isaiah had proclaimed about the luminous promise of the Messianic times:

“The people who walked in darkness, have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness, on them light has shined” (Is 9:2)

He speaks about the victory as on the “day of Midian” (Cf. Is 9:4)

The Day of Midian refers to the story of Gideon in the Book of Judges (Judg 8-9)…

… wherein, Gideon defeated the army of the Midianites with a small group of people

>> The victory being acknowledged and credited to the Lord!

The “day of Midian” is a symbolic expression of the wonders and miracles in life happening as result of God’s Mighty Power, and not because of one’s own strength or ability.

St Paul reminds the Corinthians of this need to depend on the Lord and to understand that all glory is to be attributed to the Lord…

… and not to usurp or assign power and credit to human beings!

>> “Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power!” (1 Cor 1:13, 17)

May we take this message of the readings to heart…

… and be reminded of the need to “let go” of our own fears, apprehensions, preconceptions and pride

… depend on the Lord and attribute all glory and honour to Him

… in order to “fully trust” in the mighty power of God’s Providence, and experience His Awesome and Amazing Care for us!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “During the night…

… we must wait for the light!”

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