February 20, 2020 – 6th Week if Ordinary Time, Year 2

“Leaning uncompromisingly to the side of God in all our endeavours!”

(Based on Jas 2:1-9 and Mk 8:27-33)

The famous incident of President Abraham Lincoln during the US civil war goes thus…

The President met a group of church leaders for a prayer-cum-breakfast.

At one point during the breakfast, one of the leaders remarked: “Mr President, let us pray, that in this time of the Civil War, God is on our side”

But Abraham Lincoln, replied with a much-greater insight…
… “No gentlemen. Let us pray that we are on God’s side!”

It was a reminder by the President that religion ought not to be a tool to get God to do what we want…
… but a way of life, to open our hearts to listen and do what God wants of us!

Are we on the side of God?

Or are we on the other side, and expecting God to bend Himself to our ways and styles of life?

The Gospel of the Day is a beautiful reminder of the Lord to examine our lives…
… and check, “if we are on the side of God!”

On reaching the villages of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus put forth the two-question examination to His disciples:

“Who do people say that I am?” (Mk 8: 27)
“Who do you say that I am?” (Mk 8: 29)

After having given various answers to the first question, Peter, the leader, gives the answer:

“You are the Christ” (Mk 8: 29b)

Although, Peter had given the right answer, the following statements by Jesus on His Passion, Death and Resurrection, scandalized Peter!

Peter had a set and standard understanding of a Messiah – as did the Jews of his time…
… a leader who would wield power and Icontrol
… a liberator who would exercise supremacy and command.

So when Jesus spoke of a “Servant-Leader” (Mk 8: 31)…
… One Who would suffer
… One Who would subjected to the mercy of the other

Peter could no longer stand himself!

He began to rebuke Jesus (Mk 8: 32b).

But Jesus had to set things right…
… and so He would rebuke Him back strongly: “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not on the side of God, but of men!” (Mk 8: 33)

Though Peter had made a correct statement about Jesus…
… it was still only a partial sight!

He still needed a “second intervention”, in order to see fully.

This was just as it was in the Healing of the Blind Man in the previous passage (Mk 8: 22-25)

The blind man initially could only see “people walking, like trees” (Mk 8: 24)

But after the “second touch” from Jesus, he was able to see fully.

Jesus was reminding Peter, by the strong rebuke…
.. that Christian Life is not about “we wanting our way; it is about we seeking and doing God’s Will in life!”

Yes, Christianity is a Way of Life, that constantly asks us: “Are we on the side of God?

In our everyday life, we come across plenty of opportunities, when we need to make this discernment:

Either to be on the side of God…
… or to go against Him!

We need to examine seriously our prayer life…

“Do we seek God’s Will in prayer…
… or do we seek to impose our will on Him?”

“Do we place our worries and problems before our God (Who knows all!)…
… or do we also command Him, on how and when these problems ought to be solved?”

Sometimes, we do have tendencies, to pull God into our boundary…
… instead of we moving to God’s side!

Today, the Lord clearly reminds us, as He rebuked Peter…
… to constantly be on the “side of God”.

Like Peter…
… we may have our own justifications to think the way we do
… we may have our own fears in encountering a Suffering God

St James in his letter powerfully and unequivocally emphasizes this fact that we need to behave with one another as God wishes – in selflessness and service…
… and not act in partiality or prejudice

“Show no partiality as you hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory” (Jas 2:1)

The Lord, is clear and constant in His presentation of Christianity: “Seek to be on the side of God”

Yes, let us allow the Lord to mellow our hearts…

So that we can understand that religion ought not to be a tool to get God to do what we want…
… but a way of life, to open our hearts to listen and do what God wants of us!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “If, when stung by slander or ill-nature, we wax proud and swell with anger…

… it is a proof that our gentleness and humility are unreal, and mere artificial show.”

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