Feb 21, 2021: Sunday

“Overcoming our ‘pet sins’ that have perhaps, become ‘beasts’ today, by having recourse to the power of the Holy Spirit!”

(Based on Gen 9:8-15, 1 Pet 3:18-22 and Mk 1:12-15 – 1st Sunday of Lent)

A Christian counsellor, who was also a poet, was visiting the home of a family.

He was there to speak to the couple – who had strained their relationships – primarily because they had misplaced their priorities of family life…
… and both of them, were engaging in “trifles that were outside their spousal life”

The child in the family – all of 3 years – was however, quite excited to show the guest his toys.

In doing so, the child started arranging all his toys…
… placing them one beside the other.

As the poet, was amusingly observing, he noticed that the child had placed…
… a cute white teddy bear and a rather-fierce looking black bear next to each other.

Seeing these two (the white teddy and the dark bear) side-by-side, the counsellor, a poet, looked at the couple and said:
“Stop making sin your pet!
Else the pet will, give it a bet
One day turn to be a beast
A beast that will devour you and have a feast!”

(The couple was being reminded to take their spousal life more seriously…
… being told that the “unholy trifles that they both were engaging in” like a pet teddy bear
… would soon resemble a “fierce looking black bear” devouring their family life!)

Have we been playing with sin as a “pet”…
… but perhaps, today, grappling with it as a “beast?”

On this First Sunday of the Season of Lent, we are made aware of the “beastly power” of sin…
… and the need to, remain in the Holy Spirit, so as to overcome sin
… and become a powerful witness to the Kingdom of God

St Mark states in His Gospel recounting the incident of the temptations of Jesus, as: “He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on Him.” (Mk 1:13)

St Mark beautifully in one line… illustrates the reality of the Person of Jesus Christ: Fully Man and Fully God

Jesus “was with the wild beasts”…
… to tell that He was fully Man!
Jesus had, “the angels [who] waited on him”
… to tell that He was fully God!

(In order to understand why Jesus had to undergo a temptation, a simple analogy will help:

A newly formed bridge is tested, by having made to bear a load, that is much more than the average/normal load
This is done, not to see if the bridge will break…
… rather, to prove, that the bridge will not break!

Similarly, the temptations of Jesus were not to see if He would sin…
… but to prove, He couldn’t!

He is indeed the Sinless One, Who underwent temptations in order to identify Himself with all sinners!)

Yes… in Jesus, we have God…
… Who understands all our struggles and sufferings, because He Himself went through hardships!
… Who empathizes with us in all our temptations and trials, because He Himself was tempted!

And so we are given this great news…
… that even though I am tempted, and struggle to overcome my sinful habits
… that even though I go through much agony, in order to rectify my faults and bad actions
… that even though, I am sometimes, lukewarm and tepid about my spiritual life

I have a God Who is greatly with me – strengthening me, with His Grace to empower me to overcome every sin, and live a life of enthusiastic holiness!

This verse about the temptations of Jesus, also gives us another hopeful message:

When you are surrounded by the “beasts of temptations…”
… have recourse to the angels of holiness to overcome them
When you are pounced upon by the “beasts of enticements and allurements…”
… seek the intercession and help of the angels to conquer and overpower them!

The Season of Lent is given to all of us as a time to seriously consider in overcoming our sins, our faults, our bad actions, our wrong relationships…
… and cooperate with the Grace of God
… in order to grow in holiness!

The presence of sin is serious…
… and our Blessed Lord is strongly exhorting all of us to say…
… a “FIRM NO TO SIN”
… and a “FAITHFUL YES TO JESUS!”

For those of us, who are living lukewarm and tepid lives…
… it’s high time that we take our spiritual life seriously

For those of us, who are struggling to overcome some of our habitual sins and wrong actions…
… it’s a good news given to us, that the Lord is encouraging us to take one step at a time, to rectify our faults!

For those of us, who are wanting much to grow in our spiritual life…
… it’s a reminder to choose virtues that are suiting and best needed for our way of life, and to daily cultivate and practise them!

Yes, very often it can be that unholy trifles find amusement in our life with the innocent resemblance of a “cute teddy bear”

But if we continue to play with it as a pet, we could be in for a torrid time with the fierce reality of sin!

Let us gravely give heed to the words:
“Stop making sin your pet!
Else the pet will, give it a bet
One day turn to be a beast
A beast that will devour you and have a feast!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
THE IMPORTANCE AND RELEVANCE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT

The Old Testament is an indispensable part of Sacred Scripture.
Its books are Divinely inspired and retain a permanent value…
… for the Old Covenant has never been revoked.
Indeed, “the economy of the Old Testament was deliberately so oriented, that it should prepare for and declare in prophecy the coming of Christ, redeemer of all men.
Even though they contain matters imperfect and provisional, the books of the Old Testament bear witness to the whole divine pedagogy of God’s saving love
These writings are…
… a storehouse of sublime teaching on God and of sound wisdom on human life
… as well as a wonderful treasury of prayers;
… in them, too, the mystery of our salvation is present in a hidden way.
Christians venerate the Old Testament as the true Word of God.
The Church has always vigorously opposed the idea of rejecting the Old Testament under the pretext that the New has rendered it void (Marcionism) (CCC 121-123)


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