REFLECTION CAPSULE – Feb 24, 2021: Wednesday

“Having a lively and energetic attitude to nurture ourselves with the blossoming graces and blessings that the Lord constantly showers on us!”

(Based on Jon 3:1-10 and Lk 11:29-32 – Wednesday of the 1st Week in Lent)

Attitudes determine to a great extent what one experiences in life.
Attitudes determine to a great level what one undergoes in life.

There are a couple of birds which can make us aware of two contrasting attitudes in life: the vulture and the hummingbird.

While hunting for food, all that vultures look for is rotting meat…

They thrive on the rotten and the smelly!

But hummingbirds ignore the smelly flesh of dead animals.
Instead, they look for the colourful blossoms…looking for nectar from suitable flowers.

They nourish on the beautiful and the fresh!

The vultures live on what was.

They live on the past.
They fill themselves with what is dead and gone.

But humming-birds live on what is.

They live on the present.
They fill themselves with life and freshness.

The Gospel of the day is a display of these two attitudes – an attitude which seeks to feed oneself only on lifeless lowly aspects, similar to the vulture… and an attitude which seeks to nurture oneself on lively higher aspects, similar to the humming bird.

A big crowd had gathered around Jesus and He began to speak and teach them.
“This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign…” (Lk 11:29)

This verse has its background in a previous verse… Lk 11:16…where it says, “Others to test Him, asked Him for a sign from heaven”

The motive for asking the sign was to “test” Jesus.

There was clear hypocrisy in this demand.
Jesus had already performed a lot of miracles…..
“..the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers cleansed, the deaf hear, and the dead raised up” (Mt 11:3-5)

Yet, a sign was demanded!

True, that God gave signs to people in the Old Testament.
For example…to Gideon… to Abraham… to Moses… to the people of Israel etc

But the difference was that…
… those signs were given in request for a confirmation.
….those signs were given to strengthen the faith and belief.

As it is commented, “Signs were granted to those who desired them for the confirmation of their faith, as to Abraham and Gideon; but were denied to those who demanded them for the excuse of their unbelief.”

Some in the crowds…some of the Pharisees and the Scribes… demanded a sign from Jesus, just to remain obstinate and adamant in their unbelief!

For the Jews, the time of the coming of Messiah was expected to be a time of great warfare upon the Gentiles and great material prosperity.

The pseudographical work – The Apocalypse of Baruch – mentioned that ‘the time of the Messiah would bring in an inexhaustible supply of manna to feed the Jews until the end of time.’

Another pseudographical work – The Psalms of Solomon – says ‘the Messiah will “purge Jerusalem of the heathen . . . break the pride of sinners like so many pots . . . and gather the holy nation and lead it with justice, in peace and equality”‘

Jesus was not showing such “external” signs of being a Messiah

Therefore, the demand for a ‘sign from heaven’’ was a result of the hostility for Jesus’ failure to meet their materialistic expectations.

But Jesus exhorts to look at the higher and heavenly signs and symbols that He was providing!

Jesus derides a “vulture” style attitude….
… of looking only for materialistic signs and wonders
… of feeding only on lower and earthly concerns

Jesus, instead, challenges to adopt a “humming-bird” style attitude…
… of seeking to go beyond in finding the beautiful and higher realities
…of nurturing oneself on symbols that are deeper and much more precious

Is my life reduced to looking only for lowly and materialistic gains and desires?

Or is my life raised up in longing for higher and spiritual treasures and gifts?

The world in which we live and work, is a mirror of our attitudes and expectations.

Let us have a lively and energetic attitude as that of a humming-bird…
… to nurture ourselves with the blossoming graces and blessings that the Lord constantly showers on us!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:

The fourfold Gospel holds a unique place in the Church…
… as is evident both in the veneration which the liturgy accords it
… and in the surpassing attraction it has exercised on the saints at all times
St. Caesaria the Younger says, “there is no doctrine which could be better, more precious and more splendid than the text of the Gospel. Behold and retain what our Lord and Master, Christ, has taught by his words and accomplished by his deeds.
St Therese of Child Jesus says, “But above all it’s the gospels that occupy my mind when I’m at prayer; my poor soul has so many needs, and yet this is the one thing needful. I’m always finding fresh lights there; hidden meanings which had meant nothing to me hitherto” (CCC # 127)

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