“Allowing the Lord to work a revival in us, by “encircling” ourselves in prayer and self-discipline, and being willing to get out of our “comfortable zones” of worldliness and hard-heartedness!
(Based on 1 Cor 5:1-8 and Lk 6:6-11 – Monday of the 23rd Week in Ordinary Time)
A young missionary in a particular village, had heard the fame of a senior missionary and his successful ventures in reviving the faith of the people.
Wanted to know the secret of success in ministry, the younger missionary, on meeting the senior, asked him: “What is the secret of reviving the faith of the people in my village?”
The senior man, who was also aware of the worldly lifestyle of the younger missionary said:
“Go back to your home and lock yourself up in a private room.
Then, take a piece of chalk, and mark a circle on the floor.
Get down on your knees, then, inside the circle…
… and pray to God to begin a revival inside the circle!
When this prayer is heard, a revival will take place in your people as well!”
Yes… it is when one is revived with the Spirit and Enthusiasm of the Lord…
… that one can radiate the same to others!
This revival demands that we “encircle” ourselves in prayer and self-discipline…
… by being willing to get out of our “comfortable zones” of worldliness and hard-heartedness!
The Gospel of the Day is an encounter with a group of people, who got stuck in their own “comfortable zones” of interpreting and understanding the Scriptures, failing to be open to the True Author of the Scriptures and thus failing to tread the path of mercy, compassion and charity.
The Gospel passage is another Sabbath day controversy.
Jesus is in the synagogue, teaching and proclaiming God’s Word.
His words would bring strength and courage to those in despair
His teaching would fill with hope those who were stranded on the peripheries of life
His preaching would invigorate those who were sapped of energy and felt themselves rejected.
Among those who heard Him in the synagogue, was a “a man whose right hand was withered” (Lk 6: 6)
It’s not mentioned how did he began to have a withered hand…
… maybe he was born so
… maybe he met with an accident
… maybe he had a sickness which made it so
But having a withered right hand had its own implications and difficulties to pose.
Right hand in the Bible, usually refers to..
… being the hand of blessing
… being the hand of strength
… being the hand of labour
So this man with the withered right hand is portrayed as being…
… disfigured in his purpose and goals of life
… pitiable in being rendered weak and sort of helpless
But more than this man with the physical disability, there were also some others, who had a “withered mentality” – the Pharisees
They had God, the source and origin of the Law, as their “right hand”
They had the privilege of learning and knowing the Scriptures, as their “right hand”
But, unfortunately, we find them with “withered”…
… their focus on God, the purpose and goal of the Law was “withered”!
… their opportunity to interpret and understand the Scriptures properly was “withered”!
To the man who had the physically withered right hand, Jesus said, “Stretch out your hand” (Lk 6:10)
Probably these words were also directed or perhaps intended more for the Pharisees who were “withered” in their understanding and mentality regarding the Law and the Author of the Law Himself!
Jesus was asking them to “stretch out their hands” which were withered…
… because they failed to understand the basic purpose of God’s Law which was aimed at reflecting on God’s Goodness and to reflect the same in their lives
… because they were stuck to their own rigid and arrogant interpretation of God’s Word and failed to put into practise the real meaning of God’s Word which is to do good, show mercy and extend charity
Are those words, “stretch out your hand” being directed to us also?
Are we failing to centre our lives on the Precious Gift that God has blessed us with – His Holy Word in the Holy Bible – and failing to make efforts to read, learn more and understand God’s Word properly and effectively
Do we consciously cultivate practices which help us to set apart time (on a daily, regular basis) to read the Bible and reflect and shape our lives, in the light of the Holy Word of God?
Do we remain rigid, obstinate and closed to the voice of the Holy Spirit, who speaks to us, through different sermons, write-ups, talks etc. on the Word of God and allow transformations to happen in my life?
Are we zealous to learn God’s Word more deeply, to know Him more and to cultivate a personal taste to understand the Scriptures better with self-reflection?
St Paul strongly warns us to cast away anything that is unbecoming in us, in our following of Christ: “Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened.
For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed.
Let us, therefore, celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth!” (1 Cor 5:7-8)
Our Blessed Lord invites and exhorts us to have a “Revival in our Christian Lives”
It is only when one is revived with the Spirit and Enthusiasm of the Lord…
… that one can radiate the same to others!
May we allow the Lord to work this revival in us, by “encircling” ourselves in prayer and self-discipline…
… and being willing to get out of our “comfortable zones” of worldliness and hard-heartedness!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Those who look well after their own consciences…