January 31, 2020 – 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Year 2

“Being vigilant at all times, to prevent any relapse, and instead staying focused on working for the Kingdom of our Glorious God!”

(Based on 2 Sam 11:1-10, 13-17 and Mk 4: 26-34)

The Indian folklores of Akbar-Birbal are popular.

Here is one…

Once King Akbar asked his prime minister, Birbal, “Who is greater, me or God?”

This minister Birbal was very clever and prudent person.

>> Without hesitation, he answered, “You are, Your Majesty.”

Though the king was flattered, he asked, “How can that be?”

“Well, you see, Your Majesty “, replied the smart minister, “If you do not like someone, you can banish him from your kingdom very easily.

However, how can God banish anyone from His Kingdom?

>> Where can He send him?

The whole universe is God’s Kingdom!”

With one answer, the minister had achieved two goals:

·      Pleased his King – by affirming his greatness by telling of the ‘power’ to banish

·      Told the truth – by acknowledging God’s total sovereignty

This little incident speaks to us of the supreme Glory and Omnipotence of God and His Kingdom.

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus teaching to us on the nature and characteristics of the Kingdom of Glorious and Omnipotent God, with the help of parables.

One aspect that we need to note here is the usage of parables in the teaching ministry of Jesus.

It could be said that if Jesus had a grammar teacher, then, probably the teacher would have been extremely proud of this Student!

Jesus used a lot of metaphors, similes, illustrations and parables in His teachings.

Therefore we need to be aware and careful when we read and understand this ‘technique’ of the Lord:

·      Such metaphors were presented by Jesus to emphasise on a particular aspect of a teaching   

·    Such illustrations were not meant to be closed-reflections; rather, they were to be means of allowing a person to explore and delve deeper into the mystery that was being explained.

The teachings connected to God and His Kingdom are mysteries…. divine and lofty.

·      Metaphors and parables are the meaningful expressions of these mysteries.

They are never complete by themselves

… Yet, they are rich and meaningful.

·      They induce emotions.

·      They help to situate culturally. 

·      They unite people together in a common search.

And this is the essence of true religiosity: fostering one’s search and longing for the Divine.

By presenting the parables, Jesus triggers our minds to open up to the vastness of the reality of God and to foster our desire to seek Him more, in our everyday living and circumstances.

·      For a true seeker of God, every situation of life becomes a parable from God, revealing His Supreme Providence.

·      For a genuine searcher of the Divine, every circumstance and person in life, becomes an illustration from the Lord, to know His Presence and Will

>> Do I consider my life as a “beautiful parable” from God, and seek to find the Divine elements in it?

>> Do I reflect on the circumstances of my life  – joyful, painful, sorrowful, sinful – as a “wonderful illustration” from the Lord, inviting me to see His Presence and fostering my own relationship with Him?

The two parables of the Day present to us, figuratively, some aspects of the Kingdom of God:

1. The Parable of the Kingdom of God as the seed that is sown, sprouted and giving a rich harvest, without being in the grasp of the awareness of the one who sows

What does this parable teach?

a. The duty of the one who sows, even if one is unaware how the growth-process happens

>> Am I active and energetic in being an agent of the Kingdom of God – by speaking of Christ, by living His Gospel values, by freeing our lives from sin –  even if I fail to understand ‘how’ would this help in the growth process of the Kingdom?

b. The glory of the growth of the seed, taking its own time and conveying the message of patience and persistence

>> Do I be patient when success doesn’t come to me immediately and do I continue to be persevering in my efforts – of prayer, of duty, of my responsibilities – even if  it takes a longer time than I expect?

c. The assurance that the growth of the seed, fostered by earthly elements, nevertheless, given by the power and grace of God.

>> Do I be faithful to the duties that I need to do and then totally depend on the mighty hand of God in order to experience success and see the fruits of my labour? As the Psalmist says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labour in vain, who build” (Ps 127: 1)

2. The Parable of the mustard Seed as the Seed that is the smallest when sown, yet grows on to be the greatest of all shrubs, and becomes a shelter for the birds of the air

What does this parable teach?

a. The little things of life also have the potency to develop to give the greatest results, since God is the Author of such successes and accomplishments

>> Am I convinced that even if my resources – be it talents or time or income or personnel or anything else – are too small or insignificant, they can still become powerful means for the growth of God’s Kingdom, if we are faithful and depend totally on His grace?

b. The external growth and triumphs that are achieved, in turn, ought to become a source of help and solace for the others (as the birds of the air take nest in the huge mustard shrubs)

>> Do the achievements of my life – small or big- help me to become a person who reaches out in support and solace, to the needy ones?

c. An element of surprise and wonder is present in every act of nature – the little mustard seed, which would otherwise have been trampled upon as something too ordinary, amazes by its extraordinary growth

>> Am I able to trust in the “surprising and astonishing” wonders that the Lord can perform in ‘any’ situation of my life ?

All of us are part of the Project ‘Kingdom of God’.

King David fell into the great temptation of sin by relaxing himself in the great task of Project ‘Kingdom of God.’ (2 Sam 11:1-10, 13-17)

>> This reminds us of the need to remain steadfast to the Lord at all times…

… And to become aware that, if we are not careful, watchful and vigilant, we are vulnerable to fall into the lures of sin.

May we nurture and grow in the task of the Kingdom that is entrusted to us, in the little or big way that God graces us…

… by totally depending on the Lord and not ‘relaxing’ in the comfort zones of our life

… and thus bring glory and honour to our Supremely Glorious and Omnipotent God!

Let us seek the intercession of St John Bosco, on this Feast Day, for this Grace of “recognizing the Presence of the Lord in our lives and avoiding any relapse”…

… and give heed to his words:

“Be brave and try to detach your heart from worldly things

>> Do your utmost to banish darkness from your mind and come to understand what true, selfless piety is.

>> Enliven your faith, which is essential to understand and achieve piety.”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS)– “He would never exhort the faithful to persevere…

… if he were not ready to give them the power to do so!”

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