April 4, 2020 – 5th Week of Lent

“Choosing ‘goodness over popularity’ because some ‘popular’ things can lead to death and destruction!”

(Based on Ezek 37:21-28 and Jn 11:45-57)

A person who had his house near the forest, found a large number of rats that had infested his house.

Not finding an easy way to get rid of this menace…
… he went to the city to find a solution.

A flavoured poison for rats, attracted his attention and he bought a few to his house.

He kept a few of these boxes of flavoured poison around his house, including one under his bed.

That night he could not believe his eyes!

Below his bed, was a feeding frenzy…
… a number of rats were relishing the flavoured poison!

The following morning, he checked the boxed and found them all clean – perfectly licked!

In order to make sure that his plan would work, he tried the same method the following day as well…
… placing the boxes of flavoured poison everywhere.

The rats once again, savoured the “poisonous food” again!

But in the few days that followed…
… everything was quiet!

The tasty and popular “food” did its trick!

All the rats were dead!

The rats who had “enjoyed the meal” became a prey to the popularity trick!

All what is “popular” need not, always be good!

Some “popular” things can lead to “death and destruction!”

The one who chooses “goodness over popularity”…
… are the ones who will prevail and persevere!

The Gospel of the Day is the presentation of how Jesus remains as a Symbol of “Goodness being chosen over popularity”…
… in the face of extreme hatred and pitiless feelings.

Life often crushes us and cause immense disappointments.

When things don’t shape up as we plan, we get greatly frustrated.
When people don’t behave in the way we expect, we get totally devastated.

But through today’s Gospel reading, the Lord invites us…
… to not get shattered or disappointed with life’s bad-turns or evil-leanings…
…Rather, to gather strength and courage to fight the evil, arm oneself in faith and hope and seek to live a life of holiness and conviction…

“Seek Goodness over popularity!”

The Gospel of the day, on this eve of the Holy Week, introduces us to culmination of the sharp antagonism and hatred that was building up against Jesus.

Jesus had raised up the dead Lazarus (Jn 11: 1-43)

This event garnered a lot of attention…
… many people began to believe in the person of Jesus, as the Messiah and Lord.

But many others, also began to have a greater bitterness towards this Man who was working wonders!

Many people grew in their following of Jesus and placed a greater trust and confidence in Him

But many others, had their flames of jealousy intensified and began to have greater plotting to finish off the “law-breaker” and “blasphemer”

The good that the Lord had done, was apparently turning out to be an evil for the Lord!

The “life-giving” action of the Lord would immediately result in a “life-taking” act on Him!

The event of blessing to Lazarus would apparently turned out to result in an occasion of curse on Him [since dying on the cross was considered to be a curse ( Deut 21: 23)]!

In the ensuing planning and plotting by the chief priests and the Pharisees, the High Priest said, “… it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish” (Jn 11: 50)

Jesus had grown to be a big threat for them

Jesus had gathered up much popularity and had become a menace for the leaders.

Therefore, the High Priest suggested a “quick-solution”… to kill Jesus!

But, everything in life has a purpose…
… Because God is the ultimate ruler, preserver and nurturer of this universe!

They plotted death but God planned life

They were selfish but God made Him the Saviour
They sought for political gain, but God ensured spiritual gain.
They hoped to spare one nation, but God saved the whole world.

They intended the worst evil for Jesus but God turned it into the greatest good.

They wished to scatter all His followers, but God brought them together as one holy nation.

Our life also follows this same pattern…

The events we think are bad, also have a purpose in God’s mind.
The moments that we consider as cursed, also can be turned to a blessing by God.

Sometimes, it’s just too hard to accept this teaching
… too difficult to understand this concept…

But we have a beautiful answer in this our painful moments: the Cross.

Look to the Cross and find strength from Him…
… who was abused though He was pure
… who suffered immensely, thought He was faultless.
… who underwent tremendous agony, thought He was sinless.

This was the way of God…
…mysterious to us, but life saving for the world.
… baffling for us, but redemptive for the world.

What is most important is not to get discouraged or disheartened…rather…
… to seek the Lord wholeheartedly in all those situations
… to be faithful to the Lord in steadfastness and patience.
… to be strong and joyful, finding strength in the love of the Lord.

Prophet Ezekiel reminds us of the Covenant that God had with His people…
… “I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will bless them and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.

My dwelling place shall be with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people!” (Ezek 37:26-27)

We are reminded of the Faithfulness of the Lord…
… and invited to place our hope and trust in this Faithfulness of God!

It is this hope and trust that should assure us that Everything…
…YES… everything in life, happens for good!

All what is “popular” need not, always be good!
… b’cos some “popular” things can lead to “death and destruction!”

The one who chooses “goodness over popularity”…
… are the ones who will prevail and persevere!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Honours, ranks and dignities are like saffron…which grows better and flourishes when trampled underfoot!”

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